Cultural and clinical effectiveness of the 'QAAMS' point-of-care testing model for diabetes management in Australian aboriginal medical services

Clin Biochem Rev. 2006 Aug;27(3):161-70.


The national Quality Assurance for Aboriginal Medical Services (QAAMS) Program, in which point-of-care testing (POCT) for haemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) and urine albumin: creatinine ratio (ACR) is performed for diabetes management in 65 Australian Aboriginal medical services, is now embedded in the practice of diabetes care across Indigenous Australia. This paper documents the results of a detailed survey to assess levels of satisfaction with the QAAMS HbA(1c) Program among three key stakeholder groups-doctors, POCT operators and patients with diabetes. Both doctors and patients with diabetes agreed that the immediacy of POCT results contributed positively to patient care, improved the doctor-patient relationship, and made the patient more likely to be both compliant and self-motivated to improve their diabetes control. Both POCT operators and patients with diabetes reported improved satisfaction with their diabetes services after the introduction of POCT. The paper also provides evidence from two participating medical services that POCT has been an effective tool in improving the delivery of pathology services and clinical outcomes for both individuals and groups of patients with diabetes. A statistically significant reduction in HbA(1c) from 9.3% (+/- 2.0) to 8.6% (+/- 2.0) was observed in 74 diabetes patients 12 months after commencing POCT (p = 0.003, paired t-test). An improvement in the percentage of patients achieving glycaemic targets and a reduction in the percentage of patients with poor control was also observed in this group. These data provide evidence that the QAAMS POCT model delivers a culturally and clinically effective service for diabetes management in Aboriginal Australia.