Point of Care Testing is defined by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations as analytical testing performed at sites outside the traditional laboratory environment, usually at or near where care is delivered to individuals. This definition includes tests performed at or near the patient’s bedside, or in the Operating Suite, the Emergency Department, the Cardiovascular Laboratory, or any other location where testing could take place. Any testing performed as part of a research protocol is also included.
Testing, wherever it is performed, must satisfy the basic criteria of medical justification, appropriate sensitivity and specificity, timeliness and cost effectiveness.
Traditionally, laboratory professionals have devoted significant effort to evaluating the performance of tests, training personnel to perform reliable testing and to detect failures or errors before releasing results, and to maintaining records for quality assessment and patient-care purposes. All these complex programs are essential for reliable testing services and are encoded in various regulations affecting health care providers.
Point of Care testing is an important part of efficient health care. As medicine and technology continue to produce the need and ability to test near the patient, a coordinating and evaluating program is essential.
The WellSpan Health System has a Point of Care Steering Committee with a well developed process for evaluating and monitoring testing outside the laboratory. All new point-of-care procedures must be developed through this committee. The committee is appropriately represented and can respond to assignments quickly.
For questions about the WellSpan Point of Care Testing process, call (717) 851-4908 to reach the Manager of Laboratory Point of Care Services.