“You too can have a direct immediate impact on changing patient care, and save the patient and healthcare system both money at the same time!” This was the message from Kevin T. Collopy, BA, FP-C, NR-P, CCEMT-P, CMTE Thursday at EMS Today 2016, during his presentation “Accredited Point-of-Care Testing, What is the Point, and Why Should I Care?”
Point-of-care testing has come a long way from the qualitative glucose strips used 20 years ago, Collopy said, and now the technology is there for the entire healthcare system to have immediate access to the data gained by prehospital professionals. When it comes to lab testing though, there are many rules and regulations in place that dictate when and how laboratory results can be compared.
Every EMS system can benefit from POCT, and they already do with the use of glucometers. Before beginning to evaluate what blood analysis system you’d like to deploy, create a vision for what tests your system needs, and develop a plan for how they can be immediately applied to patient care. Options include serum lactate to identify severe sepsis, arterial blood gasses to titrate oxygen delivery, BNP to identify heart failure, and the determination of electrolyte levels particularly in the dehydrated, over hydrated, and chronic kidney disease patients.
Participants completing this lesson walked away empowered to develop a plan to ensure timely patient care, and a means for ensuring their efforts can be shared with the rest of the healthcare system. By obtaining accreditation as a clinical lab, prehospital systems demonstrate to hospitals their laboratory testing methodologies have the same accuracy and reliability as each hospitals core lab! By demonstrating this reliability, Collopy said, your local emergency department and ICU can plan their patient care based on your testing results using this valuable prehospital data as a baseline for the entire hospital stay. This option eliminates the need for additional lab testing once the patient arrives at the hospital, which leads to an impressive cost savings.