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Point-of-care testing

Point-of-care testing also outside the hospital

Since a few years point-of-care testing has grown a lot and is used in almost every hospital in the world. Due to the easy use of the point-of-care devices the technique was able to spread throughout the world quickly. Now point-of-care testing is used in all sorts of hospitals the next step might be to use this type of testing also in the practice of general practitioners. A survey in the Netherlands, the US, the Uk, Belgium and Australia indicates that many general practitioners would like to use point-of-care devices in their practice.

Benefits of point-of-care testing

The prime benefit of the use of point-of-care testing is that the results of medical tests are immediately available for the doctors. Since a lot of time is saved by this, the doctor has more time to cure a disease and chances of saving a patient increase. On top of this, the results on the tests can be shared online with all different team members within the minute, which increases the communication and, again, can help cure a patient in less time. Goal directed techniques such as the use of point-of-care devices have been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality rates globally.

How reliable are these techniques?

The fact that the point-of-care devices are very easy to use also makes it susceptible to reliability problems. Since everyone can use them, it is easier to make mistakes. The simplicity of point-of-care testing can be deceptive, since there can just as easily be made mistakes. Point-of-care devices should therefore be treated with great care and experienced doctors should always check the results and procedure. Next to this, point-of-care testing is not meant to be used in all cases of diagnosing. It is only meant for simple tests at someone’s bedside.