Point-of-Care Testing vs. Laboratory Testing: Pros and Cons

Point-of-Care TestingThe world is facing unprecedented circumstances in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic. The outbreak came suddenly and brought severe and lasting effects. It forced us to live behind closed doors and take maximum precautions. Psychologically speaking, we face a constant threat of catching the virus and suffering the consequences. And now, as the talk of a second spell looms large, we pin hopes on developing a vaccine.

If we think about it, the entire anti-coronavirus structure lies in testing and detecting new cases. How can we treat someone for the infection if we don’t know whether they are infected? In this context, testing is paramount and decisive in terms of developments regarding the virus. It allows and enables us to detect the spread of the infections in a hotspot and adopt the right measures. Testing also lets us assess the threat to a particular population and estimate the isolation and recovery time.

The more modern the testing is, the more significant opportunity it gives us to battle the virus. In this regard, the role of a testing facility or service is also vital. If it has the latest equipment and offers state of the art solutions, it can spot the disease. Various facilities like PrimexLabs and other reliable services offer comprehensive means for the testing.

In terms of the testing, another crucial aspect is the method. The option we choose can decide whether or not we seize an infection in time. In this context, we see a debate taking shape: is a point of care testing more efficient or laboratory testing? The reality is that bringing forth an answer can help make the battle against the virus to a whole new level. So let’s consider the pros and cons of these methods and decide which one is the best.

1. Staff Expertise

The first primary concern that emerges regarding the two types of testing is the expertise of the staff. Those who do the tests, take the samples and send them for further evaluation need to be experts in their work. That is because these decide everything about a patient; their condition, degree of infection, and recovery speed. However, the staff that carries out the point of care testing may not have an excellent expertise. It is only because the role does not require the workers to have clinical laboratory training. And, it may have a profound impact on the reliability of any test.

On the bright side, this allows healthcare practitioners to reduce the time of the testing. When this is the situation, then the overall treatment and recovery time reduces significantly.

2. Accuracy & Quality

The accuracy has pivotal importance in any lab test as it is the critical determinant for a person suffering from any ailment. The more accurate and precise an analysis is the better treatment a person can receive. Due to the exactness of a test, we can provide relief to a patient quickly. When we observe the accuracy level, we see a crucial difference between the two types of tests. During laboratory tests, the staff carries out pre-analytical and post-analytical procedures, which decide the quality of the test. However, in the case of POCT, it may not be as comprehensive, possibly lacking accuracy and quality.

3. Providing Key Info

When a test is carried out within a laboratory’s premises, crucial information becomes more effortless. That’s because there are comprehensive and reliable analytical instruments that assist crucially in the process. These address the concerns related to the testing and help derive key results regarding a patient’s condition. The information is related to reagents, results, and accuracy. However, during the POCT, solutions understandably are not so comprehensive. Sometimes, the staff has to enter crucial data manually, which can be time-consuming. And, that could prolong a treatment’s duration, taking more time for the recovery.

4. Data Generation

During a POCT, the staff relies heavily on the testing equipment, gadgets, and the handheld devices they carry. On the bright side, that is an encouragingly good practice and can transform the entire testing system. The integration of data generation devices is the need of time to combat the pandemic, such as the coronavirus outbreak. However, unfortunately, specific software or embedded devices are focused on a few categories. The hardware, therefore, may not be as promising to get the crucial data in time.

However, when we talk about the test inside a lab’s premises, we see a visible difference. There, we see a proper integration with the IT systems, corresponding with the hardware and software. Whether it is the instrumentation, information management, or electronic records, we see complete synergy.

5. Treatment Costs

Costs are a significant hurdle in receiving or imparting quality care to the patients, even in this day and age. And, we see the prices rising with further developments in the health industry. However, the POCT has offered to lower these costs. Firstly, it is since a patient has to spend less time in the hospital, thus reducing the costs. Likewise, a patient can minimize readmission costs by utilizing monitoring and handheld devices. However, this also has some downside to it.

Some experts see the costs of the POCT as higher than the lab tests. According to them, those opting for the former method may end up paying more. They say that the lab tests are more accurate and would serve the purpose in one-go. It may not be the case with POCT due to the possibility of inaccuracy in the initial tests.

Final Word

Testing has been a critical determinant in terms of providing convenient, cost-effective, and robust patient care. You can choose any of the two methods, as it depends entirely on the needs and a given situation. In terms of the two testing types, we can come to terms by integrating more technological solutions in the lab tests. It would provide the answer to all patient needs and ensure their robust recovery.

Shift Frequency © 2020 – Point-of-Care Testing vs. Laboratory Testing:
Pros and Cons

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