Point-of-care testing, also known as remote testing, rapid diagnostics, near-patient testing, and satellite testing, is any kind of medical test that is not done within a laboratory setting. Point-of-care testing might be done at a health clinic, at home, in an ER room, in an ambulance, at an accident scene, on an airplane…essentially anywhere. Many point-of-care tests can give a patient results (and in some cases diagnoses) in very little time so that treatment or a consultation can be provided quickly.
Point-of-care testing can be administered by a wide variety of people. Self-tests or home-tests can be conducted by anyone, including yourself! These tests are useful for self-diagnosing common illnesses such as strep throat, flu, or anemia. Examples of self-tests are Physician 360’s telemedicine consultations for strep and anemia. Both of these are conducted in the comfort of your home and includes a prescription for treatment if the online physician thinks it is indicated, which allows you to determine your next steps.
Point-of-care telemedicine covers a broad array of medical concerns. Some packages use small devices to measure specific levels of hormones or chemicals. Others use test strips that color depending on the content of the liquid it comes in contact with. Some require you to prick your finger. Telemedicine allows you to get a result while in the comfort of your home, while others must be taken to a satellite laboratory for results.
Point-of-care telemedicine is flexible, efficient, and relatively inexpensive.
*Reviewed and approved by Dr. Rob Lapporte
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