Point-of-care testing. Impact on medical outcomes

Clin Lab Med. 2001 Jun;21(2):285-303.


There is now clear evidence that POCT has a positive benefit on morbidity and mortality. In addition, there are other tangible benefits that may themselves influence morbidity and mortality, e.g., reduced blood sample requirement in pediatrics, reduced length of stay, and greater doctor and patient satisfaction. These benefits accrue from the ability to make decisions and implement the appropriate intervention more quickly. It has also been demonstrated that POCT can facilitate improved patient motivation and satisfaction and thereby compliance with a prescribed disease management strategy. Improvement in health outcome, morbidity, and mortality can only be achieved, however, when the diagnostic and therapeutic interventions operate in concert. A review of the literature on medical outcomes of POCT has demonstrated the complexity of establishing evidence and the paucity of robust literature that exists at the present time. It is hoped, however, that the reader will appreciate how important it is to stress the role of a diagnostic test in decision making, to ensure that decisions are made and that benefits will be achieved. From a more pragmatic standpoint, however, it is hoped the reader will see the potential value of the arguments put forward in favor of implementing POCT when submitting a business case to a funding authority; the fact that the cost of POCT may be greater should not be a deterrent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Male
  • Medical Laboratory Science / trends*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / trends*
  • Point-of-Care Systems / trends*
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / trends*
  • United States