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What is Point of Care Testing?

What is Point of Care Testing?

About Point-of-Care Testing

In today's healthcare landscape, patient education and engagement are paramount, and we understand the importance of providing you with the tools to address your patients' questions and concerns about point-of-care testing. This page serves as a valuable resource, offering insights, explanations, and guidance to help you navigate conversations with your patients, empowering them to make informed decisions about their care.

Whether you are looking to enhance patient understanding, address common inquiries, or explore the benefits of POCT together, we are here to support you in delivering the highest quality of patient-centered care.

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Point-of-Care Testing Solutions at Henry Schein

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What is Point-of-Care Testing?

POC tests supply rapid results that assist in diagnosing disease and infections. The technology powering POCT gives the clinician the ability to not only draw patient samples in the office, but also receive the results in the office, which can help accelerate the development of an informed treatment plan.

Real-time results can make a huge difference when it comes to fighting the Flu, Covid-19, and other respiratory illnesses. As we continue to battle global SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern like Delta and Omicron, early detection remains a key factor in preventing community spread and achieving better overall outcomes.

What are the Benefits of Point-of-Care Testing for Patients?

  1. Diagnostic Tests can be Completed During the Patient Visit

While the health care industry is continually evolving, so is the technology powering point-of-care testing (POCT). In vitro diagnostic tests can be completed during the patient visit, arming the primary care physician with prompt results. With 70% of medical decisions based on these test results, accuracy plays a critical role and has a significant impact on patient health.¹

  1. Enables the Physician to Plot an Effective Course of Treatment

The rapid turnaround time associated with POCT not only offers the patient convenience but enables the physician to plot an effective course of treatment. Traditional medical testing can take weeks to render diagnostic results. Consequently, some physicians may prescribe medication and courses of treatment based on symptoms alone, with the goal of providing their patients immediate relief and peace of mind. This could put patients at risk of taking unnecessary medication, which can expose them to avoidable side effects and contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.

  1. POCT can Limit the Spread of Infection

When physicians utilize point-of-care tests, results are available in less than 30 minutes more than 80% of the time and under an hour 98% of the time.² POCT minimizes the gap between diagnosis and treatment, providing the patient with the healthiest outcome possible.

When physicians can rapidly diagnose their patients, POCT can limit the spread of infection and generate a productive course of treatment.

  1. POCT Reduces the Risk of Complications

POCT can be an essential solution for reducing the risk of complications. Rapid strep tests allow the physician to enforce an earlier treatment plan, decrease the risk of further infection, and reduce contagiousness.³

With chronic diseases such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), POCT can detect the virus in one physician visit. Discovering the virus early on is crucial to alerting patients of their condition, as a 2004 U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found 35% of those tested for HIV using non-rapid methods did not return for test results.³

Physicians with POCT-driven practices can deliver a diagnosis and immediately begin treatment, whereas non-rapid testing practices could leave patients unclear on their current and future health risks.

In the case of HIV, POCT allows the patient to be mindful of their condition, take advantage of early detection measures, potentially prevent negative health effects from occurring, reduce the spread of the virus, and may end up with a healthier outcome.

How Does POCT Improves Patient Experience?

Lab Tests Online notes that POCT can reduce follow-up visits, reduce follow-up calls, and decrease tests ordered for each patient.


tests ordered for each patient


follow-up calls


patient follow-up visits

Armed with POCT's accurate results, clinicians can confidently treat their patients with a plan that may reduce the need for additional testing and limit unnecessary patient follow-up-all of which can improve patient experience.

Real-Time Results Ensure Cost Savings

Medical practices utilizing POCT platforms may be able to deliver results within 5 to 60 minutes, rather than hours or days, according to Abbott. By reducing the wait time for results, you can help generate savings of as much as $260 per patient. Additionally, the reliability and speed behind a POCT diagnosis can decrease time spent per patient—by as much as 46 minutes—allowing clinicians to accept more appointments or tend to other activities.

The reliability and speed behind a POCT diagnosis can decrease time spent per patient – by as much as 46 minutes – allowing clinicians to accept more appointments or tend to other activities.

Not only does POCT ensure speedy results for both the clinician and patient, developing your POCT portfolio is an innovative way to cut costs related to the patient visit. The quick turnaround time can result in total savings between 8% and 20% across the entire patient flow, including laboratory costs, as stated by Abbott.

Leveraging the real-time results from POCT can have an immediate impact on your practice's bottom line.

POCT Can Improve Practice Profitability

As POCT proves to be an innovative diagnostic tool by boosting promptness and accuracy, physicians are also witnessing a positive effect on their practice's profitability. With increased productivity, POCT may significantly lower the number of tests needed per patient; one study reported a 21% decrease in tests ordered per patient following the implementation of POCT.4 By combining the quick turnaround time and faster treatment decisions, medical practices can observe a total savings of 8% to 20% in laboratory costs and as much as $260 per patient.¹

As POCT standardization continues to develop and implementation rises, physicians can look to leverage real-time results, realize tangible cost savings, and benefit from the impact on their practice's overall bottom line.

Gain Operational Efficiencies with Point-of-Care Testing (POCT)

As health care becomes more consumer-driven, practices are seeking more convenient and accurate diagnosis options to meet their patients' expectationsReports and Data states that the estimated 71 million millennials (ages 20–35) are driving the need for immediate and reliable results. By providing accurate and real-time test results, point-of-care testing (POCT) can deliver vital operational benefits, including improved patient outcomes and opportunities for practice cost savings.

POCT Highlights


Shorter time to test results helps expedite clinical decision-making


Lab-quality tests; no service or special environmentals are required

Source: Abbott

POCT Can Streamline Your Practice

Patient health is a top priority for any physician, but so is running an efficient and streamlined practice. Identifying ways to reduce unnecessary patient follow-up visits or calls—and to eliminate the need for additional testing—could directly impact your practice's bottom line.

Medical practices are reducing their reliance on traditional testing and focusing on POCT platforms because they require an average 5 to 60 minutes to produce accurate results.¹ Because of this accelerated delivery time, physicians spend less time per patient—as much as 46 minutes less—which allows practices to book more appointments or tend to other operational activities.¹ This time savings can allow physicians to feel more productive while still treating their patients appropriately.

It's not just the speed of POCT that helps increase and streamline a physician's output—accuracy matters, too.

Traditional Testing vs. Point-of-Care Testing

  • Traditional medical testing can take weeks to render diagnostic results.
  • Some clinicians prescribe medication and courses of treatment based on symptoms alone, with the goal of providing their patients immediate relief. This practice puts patients at risk of taking unnecessary medication, which can contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as "one of the biggest threats to global"
  • In addition to the risk of misdiagnosis, clinicians can unintentionally spike their patient's health care costs with additional prescriptions and clinician visits.
  • The World Health Organization explains that when infections aren't cured with first-line antibiotics, more expensive medications may need to be used, increasing both the number of appointments and expense for the patient.
  • When you have to re-treat a patient throughout several appointments, your operational efficiency drops and the patient's health care spend increases. Even worse, a longer duration of infection could lead to hospitalization.

Why is Point-of-Care Testing Growing?

The increasing popularity and widespread adoption of point-of-care testing (POCT) can be attributed to several key factors driving its growth.

  • POCT offers the advantage of near-instantaneous results, eliminating the need for sample transportation and lengthy laboratory turnaround times.
  • This rapid turnaround time allows for quicker diagnosis and treatment decisions, leading to improved patient outcomes.
  • POCT provides an opportunity to involve patients more actively in their healthcare journey by offering immediate test results at the point of care. Patients appreciate the convenience and empowerment that comes with on-the-spot testing, as it enables them to have a better understanding of their health status and participate in shared decision-making.
  • Portable, user-friendly, and reliable testing devices has made it easier for healthcare professionals to perform a wide range of tests in various clinical settings. These technological innovations have expanded the capabilities of point-of-care testing, allowing for a broader range of tests to be conducted outside traditional laboratory settings.
  • The growing trend of decentralized healthcare delivery has also fueled the demand for POCT. With the increasing emphasis on community-based care, remote and underserved areas can now have access to accurate and timely diagnostics without the need for extensive infrastructure or transportation of samples.

The Future of Point-of-Care Testing

As we look to the future of healthcare, the potential advancements and innovations in point-of-care testing (POCT) hold tremendous promise. The rapid pace of technological developments, combined with the increasing demand for accessible and efficient diagnostics, paints an exciting picture of what lies ahead. In the coming years, we can anticipate several key trends and advancements that will shape the landscape of POCT and further revolutionize patient care.

  1. Miniaturization and Portability of Testing Devices

The miniaturization and portability of testing devices are set to become even more remarkable. We envision compact and handheld instruments that seamlessly integrate complex laboratory functions into a single device, allowing you to perform an extensive array of tests directly at the point of care.

These advancements will not only enhance convenience and efficiency but also expand the range of tests available in a portable format, enabling you to obtain a comprehensive diagnostic picture in diverse clinical settings.

  1. Enhanced Connectivity and Data Integration

The future of point-of-care testing will be characterized by enhanced connectivity and data integration. The emergence of digital health technologies, coupled with cloud-based platforms and advanced data analytics, will enable seamless transmission and analysis of POCT results. Imagine a scenario where test results are automatically uploaded to electronic health records, generating real-time insights, trend analysis, and predictive algorithms that assist you in making informed clinical decisions. This connectivity will not only streamline workflow and reduce manual data entry but also facilitate comprehensive patient monitoring and population health management.

How Can You Implement POCT at Your Practice?

Implementing point-of-care testing (POCT) at your practice or healthcare facility can bring numerous benefits to both you and your patients. To successfully integrate POCT into your workflow, it is essential to follow a systematic approach.

  1. Begin by conducting a thorough assessment of your specific needs, considering factors such as the types of tests required, patient volume, and available resources.
  2. Next, select POCT devices that align with your requirements, taking into account factors like accuracy, ease of use, and connectivity options. It is crucial to provide adequate training and education to your staff to ensure proficiency in performing tests and interpreting results.
  3. Establish clear protocols for quality control, maintenance, and result documentation to maintain accuracy and compliance.
  4. Consider workflow optimization strategies, such as proper test ordering and result management, to streamline the process and minimize errors.
  5. Regularly evaluate the performance and effectiveness of your POCT program, seeking feedback from staff and patients to identify areas for improvement.

By following these steps, you can successfully implement POCT, enhance diagnostic capabilities, and deliver more efficient and patient-centered care.