The Future of POC Testing
By Kimberly Gabriel, CPhT
With the onset of COVID-19, many changes have come to the world of healthcare. The past is just that: in the past. Healthcare will never be the same after this pandemic, which means many exciting changes are taking place. People want more streamlined options, less contact with others, and more secure health records. One of the ways to do this is with (POC) testing.
POC testing involves conducting a diagnostic test outside of a standard laboratory that would be responsible for producing rapid and reliable results, which thereby aid in identifying or managing chronic diseases and acute infections. These tests are waived under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988. (NCAP)
POC testing allows physicians and medical staff to achieve lab-quality diagnostic results within minutes rather than hours accurately. Through portable blood analyzers, testing at the “point of care” will increase the rate at which the diagnostic process moves and in turn, helps ensure patients receive effective and efficient care. (NCAP) It also allows better utilization of medication therapy management profiles and keeps everyone on the same page.
Some of the POC tests available on the market are cholesterol testing, blood glucose level testing, alcohol or drug tests, analysis of electrolytes and enzymes present or absent in the sample, tests for signs of infection, fecal matter tests for markers of colon cancer, and blood markers for certain cardiac conditions, as well as hepatitis and HIV testing. (symbientphd.com) And the list is growing every day!
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have an excellent opportunity to evolve their role via POC testing further, especially when thinking about the amount of pressure that COVID-19 has brought upon on the health care system. Proper training, certification, and advances in testing technology enable POCT to occur in any setting. (pharmacytimes.com)
POC tests tend to align better with society as community pharmacies begin evolving into local health centers that have the ability to provide a variety of health-related services. Pharmacies are well-positioned to take advantage of the trends related to point-of-care testing. (Healthmart.com)
POC testing certification is a valuable asset to the continuing education of pharmacy staff, such as NPTA’s POC Testing program.
POC testing has a vital role in the future of healthcare, and the outlook is very promising. New technologies and tests are being implemented as we speak, and it will be interesting to keep up with.
Zikry, G. P., Bach, A. P., Seed, S. P., Won, K. P., & Hess, K. P. (2021, March 8). Point-of-Care Testing Offers New Opportunities. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/point-of-care-testing-offers-new-opportunities
Zikry, G. P., Bach, A. P., Seed, S. P., Won, K. P., & Hess, K. P. (2021b, March 8). Point-of-Care Testing Offers New Opportunities. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/point-of-care-testing-offers-new-opportunities
Tompkins, M. (2020, January 11). PDS Pharmacy Podcast - Episode 8 Pharmacy Point of Care Testing. Pharmacy Development Services. https://www.pharmacyowners.com/pds-pharmacy-podcast-episode-8-point-of-care-testing