Point of Care Testing – Principles & Practice


  • ‘Near-patient testing’ (NPT) and ‘Point-of- care testing’ (POCT) are used synonymously to describe analytical procedures performed for patients by healthcare professionals outside of the conventional laboratory.
  • Advances in technology have led to the development of instruments and kits designed for use in this role and which are able to provide an increasing repertoire of tests.
  • Analytical tests are now available for use in operating theatres, hospital wards, or outpatient departments in the acute sector, in general practice surgeries and in the homes of patients in primary care.
  • POCT can lead to improved patient care.
  • It is imperative that, wherever POCT is operated, it must be monitored and supervised by qualified staff of a clinical laboratory


  • The head of the clinical unit or directorate and the head of pathology should establish an initial clinical need for POCT –
  • in consultation with relevant clinicians, depends on the relevance of the analysis and the efficacy of the analyte(s) for the specific clinical requirement; and the ability of the laboratory to provide that
  • Responsibility for the maintenance of the service should normally reside with a delegated senior med tech
  • He/she should be authorised by the head of pathology to act as the trainer and general ‘liaison officer’.
  • Create ‘liaison person’ with appropriate seniority and authority in each clinical area using POCT.
  • appropriate supplier contacts for service/support

For more information, contact IGCLM