Current lab tests are done under the supervision of a pathologist. The future with CLIA-Waived devices will enable many tests to be performed at the point of care with quality controls in place to assure the accuracy of the results.
Gerard Abate states that POC provides higher quality care to patients and offers a number of other important benefits. These benefits include immediate, informed decision-making and no need to make a follow-up appointment for lab results.
Gerard Abate’s medical career has spanned more than 3 decades. He started his career as a non-invasive cardiologist. Eventually, he moved to the pharmaceutical industry. In recent years, he’s spent his time offering medical consulting services. He has extensive experience in medical diagnostics, and working with biotech and medical device start-ups.
The Role of Diagnostic Tests
70% of medical decisions are based on laboratory tests. Commodity testing, CBCs, chemistries, and other standard lab tests are the bulk of send-out testing that is done today. Patients are often scheduled to go to a draw center and then results are dependent on the individual labs’ turnaround times, says Gerard Abate. Receiving these results quickly allows the physician to give the patient the proper treatment immediately, instead of waiting for results.
Outpatient testing, whether in a doctor’s office, extended care facilities or rehab hospitals currently send the bulk of their commodity testing to diagnostic labs. The future will be in CLIA waived point of care testing.
Point of care testing allows emergency room staff to triage patients using readily available lab results.
Reducing Wait Times
Point of care testing can significantly reduce wait time and the length of stay at a healthcare facility. Since most visits require testing to reach a diagnosis, quick test results improve flow and allow patients to get faster treatment.
Point of Care Testing at Home
We often think of point-of-care testing as something that occurs at a medical facility. However, point of care devices are also used with patients at home. One of the simplest and most well-known home point of care tests is a pregnancy test. Glucose monitors, heart monitors, and a wide variety of other devices are used for at-home point of care testing.
This creates better patient outcomes and often results in shorter hospital stays, because the patient can be monitored from home.
Some point of care devices, like insulin pumps, can even administer medication on an as-needed basis. Apple has recently released the Series 4 Apple Watch, which features a fall detector and EKG monitor.
Ease of Testing
Performing laboratory tests require specialized training and education. However, point of care tests can often be performed by non-professionals.
Gerard Abate explains that doctors, nurses, and home healthcare workers who don’t have specialized laboratory knowledge can perform the test and interpret the results, which makes testing more accessible.
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