Background: Indigenous Australians experience high risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. On-site pathology data can help identify those at risk. We sought to evaluate point-of-care (POC) analysers in remote Australian communities.
Methods: Results obtained from population screening (n=76-118) on the DCA2000+ and Cholestech LDX analysers were compared to laboratory measures. Results were compared using parametric and non-parametric statistical analyses, including the use of conventional cut-off values for pathology markers.
Results: Agreements (95% CI) between the two methods for categorising results according to the selected cut-off values ranged from 88% (77-94%) for HDL-C to 99% (92-100%) for glucose, and Kappa coefficients ranged from 0.668 for total cholesterol to 0.945 for glucose. Differences in median values were not clinically meaningful but were statistically significant (P<0.05) for urinary albumin (18.8 [inter-quartile range: 7.5-41.7] vs. 18.0 [5.5-43.2] mg/L), creatinine (12.1 [7.9-17.1] vs. 12.4 [8.1-17.0] mmol/L) and albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR; 1.66 [0.70-3.53] vs. 1.27 [0.46-3.03] mg/mmol), HDL cholesterol (HDL-C; 1.05 [0.95-1.25] vs. 1.00 [0.81-1.20] mmol/L), triglycerides (1.65 [1.12-2.19] vs. 1.49 [1.07-2.36] mmol/L) and glucose (5.2 [4.5-6.0] vs. 5.2 [4.7-5.8] mmol/L), respectively, for POC and laboratory methods. Median HbA1c (5.6% [5.3-6.0%] vs. 5.5% [5.3-6.1%]) and total cholesterol (4.4 [3.8-5.0] vs. 4.4 [3.8-5.1] mmol/L) did not differ significantly. Bland-Altman analyses showed statistically significant (but not clinically meaningful) variation in the measurement difference across analyte concentration for all measures except ACR and total cholesterol.
Conclusion: POC instruments provided a reliable alternative to conventional laboratory methods for screening for chronic disease risk factors in locations remote from urban centres.