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Authors

  1. Cvitkovic, Michaela BS, MT(ASCP)

Abstract

Point-of-care testing (POCT) has revolutionized clinical decision making in the intensive care unit. Much of the credit for successful systems today could not have happened without the vision of the Connectivity Industry Consortium (CIC). The intent of this working group, first convened in 1999, was to ensure that all POCT devices could connect with any data management system, by-passing frustrations and concerns about separate connections, proprietary software, computer modifications, and other barriers to implementation. The CIC believed that the adoption of a common connectivity standard would finally enable hospitals to pursue POCT initiatives without concerns about compatibility of various bedside laboratory devices and hospital data management systems. More than a decade later, some POCT devices are not compliant with the CIC standards, either due to a lack of technological updating or the manufacturer's unwillingness to embrace the fundamental requirements of the CIC standards. Glucose meters, originally connected in the early 1990s, are the most advanced POCT devices, and their relative sophistication is serving as the benchmark for other laboratory instrumentation at the point of care. Through a discussion of the preanalytical, analytical and postanalytical phases of glucose testing, the complexities of POCT will be illustrated, along with factors relating to safety, quality assurance, and patient outcomes.