The power of point-of-care testing

Lab results weigh heavily into the medical decisions made by today’s providers. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 14 billion lab tests are ordered annually, and by one industry estimate nearly 70% of medical decisions depend on laboratory results.

But what happens if the clinician is forced to wait days, or weeks, for results?

At best, the clinician may start a treatment plan without a complete picture of what the patient needs. Some clinicians may prescribe medication and courses of treatment based on symptoms alone, with the goal of providing their patients immediate relief.

However, this practice puts patients at risk of taking unnecessary medication, which can contribute to antibiotic resistance causing longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality. The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as “one of the biggest threats to global health … today.” In a fact sheet on antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization explained that when infections aren’t cured with first-line antibiotics, more expensive medications may need to be used, increasing both the number of appointments and expense for the patient.

New abilities, greater efficiencies

Time matters now more than ever. Medical practices utilizing point-of-care testing (POCT) platforms may be able to deliver results within minutes, depending upon the test, rather than hours or even days.

Time is essential, but it’s just one of several reasons for medical providers to consider POCT. Benefits include:

  • Accuracy. POCT gives the clinician the ability to not only draw patient samples in the office, but also receive the results in the office, which can help accelerate the development of an informed, accurate treatment plan.
  • Reducing follow-up. In an article, Lab Tests Online notes that POCT can reduce follow-up visits or calls, and reports that delivering the routine tests hemoglobin A1c, hemoglobin, and lipids at the point-of-care resulted in a 21% decrease in tests ordered for each patient, 89% reduction in follow-up calls, and 61% reduction in patient follow-up visits. Accurate results help clinicians confidently treat their patients with a plan that may reduce the need for additional testing and limit unnecessary patient follow-up.
  • Cost. Developing your POCT portfolio is an innovative way to cut costs related to the patient visit. The quick turnaround time improves the entire patient flow, and cuts laboratory costs such as specimen packaging and transportation.
  • Convenience. Customer experience is important to all generations, but none more so than to millennials, now the largest generation in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. According to Forbes, this generation has grown up in a technology-powered consumer environment where transparency, rapid delivery, and convenience are the norm. Reports and Data states that the estimated 71 million millennials (ages 20–35) are driving the need for immediate and reliable results.

Discovering the possibilities

As POCT continues to expand and manufacturers continue to innovate, clinicians are looking for support outside of a standard product transaction. There are new lab products and solutions being introduced into the market on a regular basis, making it difficult for clinicians and laboratory professionals to have awareness on the latest technology that can drive optimum outcomes for the patient. Clinicians will need training and knowledge on compliance and connectivity, as well as a grasp on what adding POCT testing will mean to current staff and whether additional staff will be needed to have a successful POCT program.

Having a POC Specialist that understands guidance around compliance, training and the reimbursement landscape is critical to long-term success.

Whether it is a new or existing customer, Henry Schein approaches the POCT consultation around a discovery process with an emphasis on collaboration.

  • What are your goals for lab testing in office?
  • What tests are you currently performing today and are these tests meeting your expectations?
  • How important is turnaround time in your laboratory?
  • Are you looking to improve workflow efficiencies by running tests at the point of care vs sending out?

“Point-of-Care Specialists at Henry Schein are vested in understanding product and technology advancements in the Point-of-Care segment and support our customers in modeling the financial and operational benefits and challenges with adding new testing to their practice,” said Gary Dennis, Director of Sales, Point of Care Group US, Henry Schein. “We work alongside the customer to understand their goals and develop a lab strategy that delivers value to their practice and the patients they serve.”

To learn more about how to drive operation and clinical efficiency with Point-of-Care Testing, visit henryschein.com/POCT

COVID-19 and POCT

The COVID-19 pandemic only amplified the critical importance of POCT for the nation’s frontline caregivers. Through its POCT portfolio and industry partnerships, Henry Schein has played a key role in providing point-of-care testing to health care professionals and responded to the urgent need for wide availability of rapid point-of-care testing for COVID-19.