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NHS England and Improvement guidelines for point-of-care testing in community pharmacies
On January 18, 2022, NHS England and Improvement released guidance on point-of-care testing (POCT) in community pharmacies. It describes the consistent standards and safe environment for the use of POCT equipment and devices for diagnosis, monitoring, and screening in community pharmacy, to guide both commissioners of NHS services and community pharmacies.
The guidance covers:
- Technology and equipment selection
- Operational service delivery
- Governance and assurance
POCT technology is defined as any medical device and/or system that enables diagnosis, monitoring, or screening of patients at the time and place of care by appropriately trained users.
POCT technology can also be broadly categorized into the type of diagnostics it enables:
- Screening and monitoring devices, e.g., non-invasive blood pressure (NIBP) monitors, pulse oximeters (SpO2 monitors), portable spirometers
- Diagnostic test kits, e.g., blood glucose meters, urinalysis test strips, cholesterol tests
It is outlined that since POCT is carried out close to a patient, the time it takes to test and obtain the results can be significantly shorter compared to standard methods of testing in a laboratory and clinic environment. Potential benefits for NHS services and/or patients include faster decision-making and triage, reduced operating times, fewer outpatient clinic visits, increased access to and convenience of diagnostics, optimal use of professional time, and reduction in antimicrobial medication.
See the full details here.
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