Point-of-Care Testing and Patient Safety-A Partnership

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Today, the primary focus for all aspects of health care is patient safety. Traditionally, point-of-care testing (POCT) emphasized error reduction by improving analytical quality. In today's environment, the "quality" prospective is much broader. Errors introduced at any point in the testing process are viewed as putting the patient's safety at risk. "Errors" not only from the analytical process but also from the associated clinical processes are recognized as potentially adverse to patient safety and optimal health care. Consequently, ensuring quality in the total POCT process requires a collaboration between the partners involved at every stage from test ordering through analysis and, ultimately, clinical intervention. We suggest that the emphasis on patient safety will require a redefinition of the POCT paradigm based on the patient's legitimate expectations.

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