Point-of-care testing, also known as remote testing, rapid diagnostics, near-patient testing, and satellite testing, is any kind of medical test that is not done within a laboratory setting. Point-of-care testing might be done at a health clinic, at home, in an ER room, in an ambulance, at an accident scene, on an airplane…essentially anywhere. Many point-of-care tests are able to give a patient results and, in some cases, diagnoses, in very little time, so that treatment or a consultation can be provided quickly.
Point-of-care testing can be administered by a wide variety of people. Self-tests or home-tests can be conducted by anyone, including yourself! These tests are useful for self-diagnosing strep throat, flu, or anemia. Examples of self-tests are Physician 360’s Home Strep Test and Rapid Anemia Test. Both of these are conducted in the comfort of your home and include an online physician consult about the results and/or diagnoses, which allows you to determine your next steps.
Point-of-care tests cover a broad array of medical concerns. Some use small devices to measure specific levels of hormones or chemicals. Others use test strips that color depending on the content of the liquid it comes in contact with. Some require you to prick your finger. Many point-of-care tests allow you to get a result while in the comfort of your home, while others must be taken to a satellite laboratory for results. The most used point-of-care tests are pregnancy tests and blood glucose monitoring. Other common tests include rapid strep, anemia, UTI, and fecal occult blood.
Point-of-care tests are flexible, efficient, and relatively inexpensive. Whichever point-of-care test you use, it is always wise to follow up with a healthcare professional afterwards to ensure the accuracy of your results.
*Reviewed and approved by Dr. Rob Lapporte
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