Effect of point of care testing on length of stay in an adult emergency department

J Emerg Med. 1999 Sep-Oct;17(5):811-4. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(99)00107-9.


Devices are now available that are practical for point of care testing (PCT) in hospital settings. Previous studies in clinical settings, however, have failed to demonstrate a reduction in patients' length of stay (LOS) associated with the use of PCT. This randomized controlled study compared PCT with central laboratory testing in a hospital Emergency Department to assess the difference in patients' LOS. Patients randomized to PCT (n = 93) had a median stay of 3 h, 28 min (interquartile range [IR] 2:28 to 5:30), while those allocated to the central laboratory (n = 87) had a median stay of 4 h, 22 min (IR 3:04 to 5:47). The median stay associated with PCT was significantly shorter. Among patients who were destined to be discharged home, there was also a significantly shorter stay, but not among those who were destined to be admitted. It was concluded that the use of PCT can achieve significant time savings in an Emergency Department.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Systems*