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Point of Care Testing

Point of Care Testing (POCT) can be defined as any analytical test performed for a patient by a healthcare professional outside the conventional laboratory setting. 

POCT is usually performed by non-laboratory personnel and the results contribute to fast clinical decisions. At least 1 million test results are generated at POCT locations across UHNM every year by at least 3000 non-laboratory personnel.

POCT has a large range of complexity and procedures that vary from manual kits (such as a pregnancy test) to larger automated analysers (such as blood gas analysers), but are often “hand held” or small portable analysers (such as a glucometer).

POCT tests available at UHNM include:

  • blood gases, electrolytes, metabolites, oximetry
  • blood glucose and ketones
  • Coaguchek INR
  • HemoCue Hb
  • HemoCue glucose
  • Activated Clotting Time (ACT)
  • Thromboelastography (TEG)
  • iSTAT U&E
  • urine dipsticks and automated readers
  • pregnancy tests

Accreditation bodies hold the Directorate of Pathology accountable for the oversight and quality of laboratory testing and the POCT section is working towards UKAS accreditation. POCT is governed within UHNM via the Trust POCT Policy (C56).

The POCT team is responsible for the overall implementation of the POCT quality management system including advice on the appropriateness of POCT, device procurement and implementation, device verification, documentation, staff training, auditing and troubleshooting faults and incidents.