print   Print full article One of the conveniences of PoCT is that in many cases the sample consists of a drop of blood usually taken from your finger-tip.

Above is shown a few millilitres of blood, collected using a device called a lancet, being directly applied to the testing slide to measure INR. (Image Courtesy of Point-of-Care Diagnostics, Sydney, Australia).

For other point-of-care devices blood may be collected into a small glass tube or similar dispensing device. This is then inserted into the point-of-care device where the testing process takes place.

If you have testing done in your GP practice then it is likely that a practice nurse will perform it. This is a less invasive procedure than having a venepuncture where the person collecting the sample needs to have special training and skill. Care must be taken to ensure a viable sample is collected.

The complete point-of-care testing process, including collection of the sample and the measurement process is shown for an INR measurement in this video which is supplied by Point-of-Care Diagnostics, Sydney, Australia:

There may be occasions when your GP or other healthcare provider will want to send a test to the pathology laboratory as well as do a test in the practice. In this case, the practice nurse may perform a conventional venepuncture to send a sample to the laboratory and keep back some of the blood collected for a PoCT.

The testing process and the time it takes, varies  according to the test and the device. For INR and glucose it only takes  one or two minutes to get a result. For tests such as HbA1C or Lipids it may take between five and 15 minutes.

Once the result is produced you will be able to see your GP who will decide on your treatment based on the result and their clinical judgement.

Ideally, all results produced by point-of-care devices would automatically go into your electronic patient record. While some GPs do have this facility, many do not and your result will be written on a piece of paper and the GP or one of the practice staff will manually enter it into your patient record.

Some pharmacies offer PoCT. The results from these tests will be given to you and it will most likely be your responsibility to ensure that you inform your GP of the results. There is no electronic connection between pharmacies and GPs, so manual result transfer, with the potential for loss of results, is the only process in place.

Last Review Date: June 29, 2020