Summary of work
The POCT (point of care testing) team was assembled for a project to see if combining POCT devices with a clinical electronic order communications system would reduce A&E patient waiting times.
POCT devices were connected to a server which in turn was connected via the hospital internal network, to the Integrated Clinical Environment (ICE) system, and test orders entered produced a bar code label that could be read by the individual POCT devices.
Once required tests were assayed and the results transmitted back to the ICE system, they could be viewed by users across the hospital site.
The project found that interfaced (on-line) POCT has many advantages with respect to the quality and safety of data management. The benefits include reliable identification of the requesting clinician and patient and assurance that the right result is allocated to the right patient. The study also showed that the quality of results produced by the POCT devices met the requirements of the clinical environment.
This was an innovative development with impressive IT solutions that addressed a significant problem. The time to get results from tests was greatly reduced and it inherently reduced hospital visits for patients, which means they are now more likely to be seen on one occasion rather than two. A simple idea with pretty good results - every minute counts for a patient so the fact that this saves lives is commendable.