The state of Queensland, Australia, is roughly the size of France, Spain, Sweden, and Germany combined. Managing a point-of-care testing network of more than 250 sites across the state means overcoming the challenges such an immense area presents. In a region where the nearest pathology lab may be 500 kilometers away and roads can be impassable for months, the ability to locally produce reliable, quality-assured test results is critical in improving patient outcomes.
"We work across many [regions]. If you are living on the coast, you have access to big hospitals, modern equipment, lots of support for pathology and radiology. The further you go from the coast, the thinner that support becomes."
A major challenge for Queensland’s health system was the relative lack of resources and support in rural inland areas. As the number of operators increased after the launch of the point-of-care program in 2001, concerns grew about monitoring the quality of testing. Due to the mobile, transient nature of the operator workforce, testing quality was a problem in the more-remote areas. It was difficult to keep staff trained and track their training, and quality suffered as a result.
Additionally, “orphan” analyzers existed across the system, lying unused and essentially forgotten because they were not accounted for in a data-management system. Site personnel would purchase an analyzer, use it for a time, and then, due to poor over-sight, abandon it in favor of something else.
Increase Workforce Productivity
After years of rising error rates , Queensland Health installed an online training program in 2010. Now, after adding the POCcelerator® Data Management System, managers can not only train operators remotely but also manage operator access and precisely track their training, so they know which operators are current and which are not.
Optimize Clinical Operations
Queensland Health sought to identify and implement a solution that would seamlessly connect and manage a range of handheld and lab systems from a variety of manufacturers. The health system has realized significant economic benefits, including a 5% increase in cost recovery through reimbursements. Queensland Health also estimates that, among its three point-of-care staff members, it has gained back the equivalent of 8 hours per week of coordinator time.
“What also saved money were the improvements in testing quality, which led to less errors, less waste, less repeated tests, and better patient care. It is important that all parts of the care chain work together.”
Transforming Care Delivery
The installation of the POCcelerator system has improved not only the operations of the Queensland Health system but also access to care across the country. By creating a reliable Point of Care Ecosystem® environment, instruments in the remote areas are used more frequently, and the results are recorded more accurately. Through improved tracking of operator training, the POCcelerator system has enabled better-trained operators who produce higher-quality results.