Point of Care Testing


Point of Care Testing (POCT) is defined as medical diagnostic testing performed outside the clinical laboratory in close proximity to where the patient is receiving care.  POCT is typically performed by non-laboratory personnel and the results are used for clinical decision making. POCT has a range of complexity and procedures that vary from manual methodologies to automated analyzers. POCT devices are often ‘hand held’ or may be small portable analyzers. POCT is generally more expensive than in lab testing but is appropriate and cost effective in some clinical settings because testing is performed near the patient and informs immediate decisions for clinical management of the patient. POCT tests available at Capital Health include blood glucose, urine dipsticks, blood gases, chemistry, hematology, coagulation, cardiac markers, and pregnancy tests.

Accreditation bodies hold the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (DPLM) accountable for the oversight and quality of POCT programs; POCT is supported within Capital Health under controlled circumstances as stated in the Point of Care Testing  (Laboratory Diagnostic Bedside Testing) policy.

DPLM strives to meet the requirements of Accreditation Canada (AC) identified in the Point of Care Testing Qmentum standard. The AC survey in the fall of 2013 will be the first time Capital Health has been assessed against this standard. Capital Health has two POCT committees:

  • Interdisciplinary POCT Committee - is a working committee that reviews policy/procedures, approves training manuals, monitors compliance with accreditation standards and investigates/resolves patient safety events arising from POCT.
  • District POCT Advisory Committee - evaluates clinical need, financial impacts and quality of needs for POCT submitted to the POCT Coordinator via the Request of Need form. They review POCT policies, authorize the evaluation of new POCT equipment and determine the type and scope of POCT across the District.

Interdisciplinary health care professionals are involved in the implementation, ongoing training and support of POCT in various models of care throughout Capital Health. Please see the Documents & Forms subsection on the left side of this page for additional details.

Go the the 'Documents & Forms' sub-header (under Point of Care Testing) on the left of this page and use the quick links to view available POCT documents and forms.