AG Plus release Challenges to Point-of-Care Testing White Paper

Key Points

Point-of-care tests (POCT) offer rapid diagnostic and/or predictive results in real-time thereby facilitating clinical decision making. However, certain issues relating to Performance, Cost Effectiveness, Quality and Connectivity considerations are perceived as barriers to implementation of these technologies.

The main performance issues of POCT arise as a result of the small sample size used (≤5μL), the very fast time-to-result (≤15 mins) and the use of Whole Blood with all its cellular and enzymatic Constituents.

Direct POCT costs are roughly equivalent to their laboratory counterparts. Increasing health economic evidence shows that POCT results in improved patient care and economic savings in both hospitals and in primary care settings.

Data handling and quality issues can arise as a consequence of non-laboratory personnel performing POCT and integration of the data with patient medical records.

Improvements in POCT with regards to test performance and cost-effectiveness, together with the implementation of effective quality control measures, will support the expansion of POC testing as the method of choice for chronic disease monitoring in daily practice.


POC testing is defined as “testing at or near the site of patient care wherever that medical care is needed.” The intention of POC testing is to facilitate immediate medical decisions and therefore, to improve patient outcomes. The rapid availability of test results permits the discussion of the results face-to-face between patient and Health Care Professional (HCP), and has the potential to improve patient-HCP dialogue and patient satisfaction. Most importantly, testing at POC has been shown to improve disease management if undertaken within an adequate comprehensive quality management system. In a hospital or clinic-based setting, the main advantage of POCT is that it provides a faster turnaround time than testing performed in the central laboratory.

A further attraction of POCT is that it generally requires less sample volume than tests performed in the central laboratory which obviates the need for a phlebotomist to draw the blood sample. Additionally, many POCT are performed using whole blood thereby obviating the need to prepare serum or plasma samples which is usually performed by centrifugation…

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