Point-of-care testing for renal failure and chest pain

Flinders University researchers are planning to run a study in six remote health centres in the Northern Territory to determine the patient benefits and cost savings of using point-of-care testing (POCT) devices.

The International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing at Flinders University will undertake the research following a $95,000 grant from the Emergency Medicine Foundation.

The centre currently runs Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services (QAAMS), a national service funded by the federal government that provides POCT for diabetes management and treatment at more than 170 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services.

It also runs a program in association with the NT Department of Health using the Abbott i-STAT portable blood analyser.

It now intends to specifically investigate the use of POCT for patients with acute chest pain, acute diarrhoea and acute renal failure.

Centre director Mark Shephard said the research has the potential to lead to more services in rural and remote communities, which could lead to major health benefits as well as create substantial savings for the health system.

Professor Shephard said access to portable pathology testing means that doctors are able to rule out potential acute problems, stabilise patients in their own communities or confirm when emergency evacuations were required.

“In simple terms, this research will determine whether POCT enables more people to be diagnosed and treated in their remote communities, and whether it reduces the need for unnecessary and expensive medical retrievals,” he said.

“Hundreds of rural and remote Australians are medically evacuated to city hospitals each year at a significant cost to the health system.”

In addition to research into POCT in rural and remote areas, the centre also has expertise in device selection, analysis of evidence-based outcomes for POCT and the development of software solutions for the electronic capture of POCT results.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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