WHENEVER A TREND COMES OF AGE, books appear to offer guidance on how to best benefit from such a trend. In the laboratory profession, point-of-care testing (POCT) is an example of a trend which is now ubiquitous in most large healthcare organizations.
Another trend currently gathering momentum in both healthcare and the laboratory profession is the use of quality management systems, including Lean, Six Sigma, and ISO-9000.
So it is of interest that that a handy, concise tome called “Point-of-Care Testing for Managers and Policymakers: From Rapid Testing to Better Outcomes” was published in recent months by AACC Press. It is a book which has ambitious goals, for in just 115 pages, it tackles POCT from the perspective of policymakers, clinical laboratory administrators, and clinicians.
The two authors come from the United Kingdom and Australia. That gives their insights and conclusions a broad perspective that addresses issues common to healthcare systems in most developed countries. Christopher P. Price, Ph.D., FRCPath, FACB is a Visiting Professor of Pathology at the University of Oxford in the U.K. Co- author Andrew St. John, Ph.D., MAACB, is Market Development Manager with Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics in Perth, Western Australia. Both individuals regularly visit the United States and are active in the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC).
This book is one of the first to recognize that new management systems—which upend the traditional hierarchy of top-down management in favor of a patient-first orientation—require laboratories to deploy care testing for significantly different reasons than might have been true in the past. Price and St. John support these premises with specific examples and citations from published studies.
Analysis of Each Issue
For lab managers and pathologists dealing with the issues and politics of POCT in their institution, “Point-of- Care Testing for Managers and Policy-makers” is likely to be a useful reference. It provides analysis of the issues in each dimension of POCT, ranging from the initial question of “Should we or shouldn’t we?” to design and implementation of a POCT program and ways to measure the outcomes for all stakeholders.
As a sign of change, this book is also one of the first published by laboratorians with the goal of helping lab managers understand how to integrate new quality management methods with the successful operation of point-of- care testing programs.