A point-of-care chemistry test for reduction of turnaround and clinical decision time

Am J Emerg Med. 2011 Jun;29(5):489-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.11.020. Epub 2010 Apr 24.


Purpose: Our study compared clinical decision time between patients managed with a point-of-care chemistry test (POCT) and patients managed with the traditional central laboratory test (CLT).

Basic procedure: This was a randomized controlled multicenter trial in the emergency departments (EDs) of 5 academic teaching hospitals. We randomly assigned patients to POCT or CLT stratified by the Emergency Severity Index. A POCT chemistry analyzer (Piccolo; Abaxis, Inc, Union City, Calif), which is able to test liver panel, renal panel, pancreas enzymes, lipid panel, electrolytes, and blood gases, was set up in each ED. Primary and secondary end point was turnaround time and door-to-clinical-decision time.

Main findings: The total 2323 patients were randomly assigned to the POCT group (n = 1167) or to the CLT group (n = 1156). All of the basic characteristics were similar in the 2 groups. The turnaround time (median, interquartile range [IQR]) of the POCT group was shorter than that of the CLT group (14, 12-19 versus 55, 45-69 minutes; P < .0001). The median (IQR) door-to-clinical-decision time was also shorter in the POCT compared with the CLT group (46, 33-61 versus 86, 68-107 minutes; P < .0001). The proportion of patients who had new decisions within 60 minutes was 72.8% for the POCT group and 12.5% for the CLT group (P < .0001).

Conclusions: A POCT chemistry analyzer in the ED shortens the test turnaround and ED clinical decision times compared with CLT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors