Point-of-Care Testing: Future of Chronic Disease State Management?
This article provides an overview of the current use of point-of-care testing (POCT) and its utility for patients’ self-management of chronic disease states. Pharmacists utilize POCT to provide rapid laboratory diagnostic results as a monitoring tool in the management of their patients and in order to improve medication outcomes. Considerations for the transition to use of POCT in the home to further improve disease management and improve health care cost-effectiveness are discussed. Devices available for home use include those suitable for management of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and anticoagulation. Many of these devices include software capabilities enabling patients to share important health information with health care providers using a computer. Limitations and challenges surrounding implementation of home POCT for patients include reliability of instrumentation, ability to coordinate data collection, necessary training requirements, and cost-effectiveness. Looking forward, the successful integration of POCT into the homes of patients is contingent on a concerted effort made by all members of the health care team.