H. Halls and L. Motta
Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing, Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA, Australia
Point-of-care pathology testing (POCT) is performed on-site by non-laboratory staff at the time of patient consultation with results being immediately available to assist clinical decisions. The most common POCT for diabetes management is glucose which is often performed by patients at home. However POCT technology has many other applications in diabetes management which can benefit the patient, the health professional and the community overall.
The setting up and running of a POCT service must follow a logical and systematic approach. The Flinders University International Centre for POCT delivers needs-based POC testing programs for diabetes management to Australian and international rural and remote communities, and community-based, undergraduate and postgraduate education programs.
POCT for diabetes management
In our POC diabetes management programs, we successfully use the Siemens DCA Vantage to measure HbA1c, “the gold standard” for measuring diabetes control. In Australia, these programs include the QAAMS Program, which currently operates in over 170 Indigenous medical services, the Northern Territory POCT Program and the Victorian Mallee Track POCT Program.
Complications of diabetes can also be effectively managed by POCT. Devices such as the Abbott i-STAT (NT POCT Program) can be effectively used to determine electrolyte and acid-base status to manage complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis. Renal complications can be detected and managed by the measurement of the urine ACR ratio (DCA Vantage) and eGFR (i-STAT).
How can I learn more about POCT?
The education and training of practising health professionals is a crucial to delivering quality-assured POCT. The Centre offers a fully online one-year, part-time Graduate Certificate in Global Point-of-Care Testing, which provides advanced knowledge and speciality skills in POCT1. Students undertake two core topics on POCT and select 2 elective topics from speciality areas which include emergency and disaster management, chronic disease management, and rural and Indigenous primary health care.