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Point-of-care testing in Ontario

The CMLTO defines point-of-care testing (POCT) as medical diagnostic testing performed outside the clinical laboratory, at or near, where a patient is receiving care. POCT may or may not be performed by laboratory personnel and the results of the testing are used for clinical decision making. 

The quantitative impact that has POCT is currently having on the professional practice of bench-level MLTs in hospital laboratories was assessed through a survey of Practising MLTs. The data demonstrated that:

  • 83% of survey respondents identified the Laboratory as being responsible for POCT. 
  • The most common POCT tasks focussed on quality control including testing and equipment control.
  • 55% of survey respondents identified POCT as having an impact on their daily professional practice. However, within that 55%, the majority identified the impact as minimal. 

Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) can be a key enabler to POCT, especially when the testing is being performed by other health professionals (i.e., nurses), and supported by the laboratory and MLTs.  For this reason, CMLTO has published two IPC case studies focussed on POCT, which can be found here.

Through its mandatory Quality Management program for licensed laboratories, the Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare’s (IQMH) programs for laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing ensures these facilities are responsible for the quality of the laboratory results generated to support patient care. The IQMH requirements are based upon and referenced to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements for laboratory quality in general, and POCT specifically.

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science has a POCT position statement, which the CMLTO supports, that can be found here (PDF).