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Keywords:

  • Allowable total error;
  • bench-top;
  • handheld;
  • in-clinic;
  • near-patient;
  • quality control

Abstract

Point-of-care testing (POCT) refers to any laboratory testing performed outside the conventional reference laboratory and implies close proximity to patients. Instrumental POCT systems consist of small, handheld or benchtop analyzers. These have potential utility in many veterinary settings, including private clinics, academic veterinary medical centers, the community (eg, remote area veterinary medical teams), and for research applications in academia, government, and industry. Concern about the quality of veterinary in-clinic testing has been expressed in published veterinary literature; however, little guidance focusing on POCT is available. Recognizing this void, the ASVCP formed a subcommittee in 2009 charged with developing quality assurance (QA) guidelines for veterinary POCT. Guidelines were developed through literature review and a consensus process. Major recommendations include (1) taking a formalized approach to POCT within the facility, (2) use of written policies, standard operating procedures, forms, and logs, (3) operator training, including periodic assessment of skills, (4) assessment of instrument analytical performance and use of both statistical quality control and external quality assessment programs, (5) use of properly established or validated reference intervals, (6) and ensuring accurate patient results reporting. Where possible, given instrument analytical performance, use of a validated 13s control rule for interpretation of control data is recommended. These guidelines are aimed at veterinarians and veterinary technicians seeking to improve management of POCT in their clinical or research setting, and address QA of small chemistry and hematology instruments. These guidelines are not intended to be all-inclusive; rather, they provide a minimum standard for maintenance of POCT instruments in the veterinary setting.