Point-of-care testing in critical care: the clinician's point of view

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Point-of-care testing (POCT) is increasingly used in the Emergency Department (ED) by emergency physicians. They often need to have test results readily available in order to make prompt diagnosis, define risk stratification and establish early therapy or make changes to therapy. The use of POCT is important in patients who present to the ED with symptoms, such as chest pain, dyspnea or other critical medical conditions, as well as in trauma patients. The essential tests should have a turn-around time that allows state-of-the-art management of critical patients. The quality of POCT analyses can only be assured through an optimal relationship with the clinical laboratory, and all POCT activities should be discussed and agreed upon between the Clinical Laboratory and the ED.

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