Quality performance of laboratory testing in pharmacies: a collaborative evaluation

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The quality performance and the comparability between results of pharmacies point-of-care-testing (POCT) and institutional laboratories have been evaluated.


Eight pharmacies participated in the project: a capillary specimen collected by the pharmacist and, simultaneously, a lithium-heparin sample drawn by a physician of laboratory medicine for the pharmacy customers (n=106) were analyzed in the pharmacy and in the laboratory, respectively. Glucose, cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, creatinine, uric acid, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, were measured using: Reflotron, n=5; Samsung, n=1; Cardiocheck PA, n=1; Cholestech LDX, n=1 and Cobas 8000. The POCT analytical performance only (phase 2) were evaluated testing, in pharmacies and in the laboratory, the lithium heparin samples from a female drawn fasting daily in a week, and a control sample containing high concentrations of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.


For all parameters, except triglycerides, the slopes showed a satisfactory correlation. For triglycerides, a median value higher in POCT in comparison to the laboratory (1.627 mmol/L vs. 0.950 mmol/L) has been observed. The agreement in the subjects classification, demonstrates that for glucose, 70% of the subjects show concentrations below the POCT recommended level (5.8-6.1 mmol/L), while 56% are according to the laboratory limit (<5.6 mmol/L). Total cholesterol exhibits a similar trend while POCT triglycerides show a greater percentage of increased values (21% vs. 9%). The reduction in triglycerides bias (phase 2) suggests that differences between POCT and central laboratory is attributable to a pre-analytical problem.


The results confirm the acceptable analytical performance of POCT pharmacies and specific criticisms in the pre- and post-analytical phases.

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