Cookies

Like most websites The Pathologist uses cookies. In order to deliver a personalized, responsive service and to improve the site, we remember and store information about how you use it. Learn more.
Subscribe to Newsletter
Outside the Lab Point of care testing, Quality assurance and quality control, Regulation and standards, Guidelines and recommendations

A Question of Quality

Point-of-care-testing (POCT) promises a simple, accessible, cost-effective alternative to laboratory testing. But many resource-limited areas lack guidelines for quality assurance – so how can we ensure that POCT everywhere conforms to the same standards? This International Pathology Day, we posed this question to a panel of experts…

Charles van Heyningen, Former International Advisor at the Royal College of Pathologists

POCTs need to be as user-friendly as possible, but complex enough to address quality issues. New technologies often have internal quality control systems built in, and even some of the simple bedside or self-monitoring tests allow you to run quality checks more readily than ever, removing the need for complex laboratory backup systems.

Tahir Pillay, Professor & Chair in the Department of Chemical Pathology and Head of Pathology at the University of Pretoria

Cost and complexity are the main barriers to accessibility. Many UK hospitals have established POCT committees and coordinators; laboratories act as a central point for deployment and quality assurance, with a fixed schedule of auditing and incident recording to maintain quality. Low-resource countries have not yet reached this level of best practice.

Lieutenant Emma Hutley, Defence Medical Services, Joint Hospital Group South East

It’s important to determine exactly what you’re asking of the test – how is it going to change the management of the patient or outbreak? How it will inform patient flow and management? Many POCTs use the ASSURED criteria: availability, sensitivity, specificity, user-friendliness, robust, reliable, equipment-free, and deliverable.

Wale Atoyebi, Consultant Hematologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Resource-limited countries don’t have the infrastructure to undertake processes that are established in developed countries. The main concern is the audit trail and who is managing the process. The simplicity of POCTs can sometimes mean that people grow lax in their procedures – so we must be vigilant.

Want to hear more? Watch the entire panel discussion on demand here.

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Pathologist and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

About the Author
Luke Turner

While completing my undergraduate degree in Biology, I soon discovered that my passion and strength was for writing about science rather than working in the lab. My master’s degree in Science Communication allowed me to develop my science writing skills and I was lucky enough to come to Texere Publishing straight from University. Here I am given the opportunity to write about cutting edge research and engage with leading scientists, while also being part of a fantastic team!

Register to The Pathologist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Pathologist magazine

Register