Use of point-of-care testing (POCT) equipment by paramedics for triage may reduce unnecessary attendance in emergency departments and inconvenience to patients.1
According to a 2021 article in the Journal of Paramedic Practice, having POCT results available at the time of paramedic assessment resulted in the following improvements in outcomes:1
- Reduced conveyance to the emergency department by 21%.
- Increased admissions by 10% for patients for whom pathology results indicated problems requiring urgent treatment that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
- Changed 31% of conveyance decisions as a direct consequence of the point-of-care test results.
Additionally, patients reported high levels of satisfaction, and paramedics said POCT added value in 97% of cases where it was used to support decision making.1
An increasing need for POCT across EMS settings:
- New national Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) reimbursement guidelines promote a shift in where EMS patients are transported.2
- Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an increase in utilization of EMS services to oversee Mobile Integrated Health (MIH)/Community Paramedicine (CP) house calls.3
The real-time assessment of critical results, such as metabolites, electrolytes, and blood gas, can provide valuable diagnostic data at the scene.4 By enabling result-driven decision making, POCT can lead to improved patient outcomes and reduced liability risks for health systems.