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Point of Care Testing

Point of Care Testing (POCT) or near patient testing (NPT) is the term applied to tests done by non-laboratory personnel outside a recognised diagnostic laboratory.

Benefits of point-of-care testing

Technological advances have provided the facility for an ever-increasing range of analyses to be performed outside diagnostic laboratories.  While it remains desirable for the vast majority of investigations to be done in centralised laboratories there are circumstances where it is appropriate for certain tests to be undertaken outside this environment.

When well planned and correctly implemented, POCT can offer significant benefits to patient care but lack of attention to detail can result in failure.

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Near Patient Testing Policy.

Point of Care Testing provided

Tests currently performed as POCT within the Trust are:

  • blood gases
  • co-oximetry
  • electrolytes and lactate
  • blood glucose
  • urinalysis
  • pregnancy testing (urinary hCG)
  • cardiac markers
  • HbA1c
  • ketones
  • international normalised ratio (INR)

PoCT Quality

To maintain the quality of the results each test is enrolled in an external Quality Assessment Scheme overseen by the laboratory.

User training is cascaded via ward based Link Nurses.