Point of Care test in Laboratory test result

I have had a discussion on the “Point of care-test” element in Laboratorium result. Healthcare profesionals have pointed out that it is important to register this attribute as error margins might be higher than with formal test results. The problem I have that this seems to be due to two factors:

  • The performer responisble for executing the test could a pharmicist or a GP instead of lab.
  • And the machine used might not be of the quality/precision as that found in a lab.

Is “Point of Care-test” supposed to cover both dimensions (performer and machine quality)?

And if so what the rational for putting this in one field?

One of the reasons for asking this, is that I just learned of pharmacist who has a “lab grade” machine managed by a lab, on which he can perform tests. Is this still a “point of care-test” ?

Hi Wouter,

It is a semantically tricky situation and this was the solution decided at the time.

By designating the test result as a point of care test in this Lab test result archetype keeps it with the other test results from a querying point of view, which was considered a valuable, practical solution in the circumstances.

The alternative is to develop a ‘Point of care’ test result archetype that is a standalone and adapted ‘copy’ of the ‘Lab test result’ but will lose any connection with the same tests that might be done in a lab.

A specialisation is also probably not appropriate either as it will still inherit the semantics from ‘Lab test result’.

Some point of care tests can be just as accurate as lab tests - depending on the user and the device. Some used on wards, managed by the lab and used by trained staff may be considered as proxy for a formal lab test. Think of the analogy of how a skilled barista can still produce a fab espresso from a non-commercial coffee machine. And then there is the equivalent of me producing a miserable espresso from the same machine.

No easy answer here from my point of view.

Anyone else?

Completely agree, Heather.

I guess the defining factor is that a point of care result is issued without an ‘sign off’ by a lab specialist and one might also assume that there is somewhat less robust equipment testing/calibration process than if the equipment was in a lab, even if technically identical.

As such, I don’t think we can do much more than flag that a test result was not carried in a lab environment, and allow people to document the test method/ exact device if necessary.