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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 35(2)

Development of an accreditation program for Point of Care Testing (PoCT) in general practice

Rosy Tirimacco A F , Briony Glastonbury B , Caroline O. Laurence C , Tanya K. Bubner C , Mark D. Shephard D and Justin J. Beilby E

A Integrated Cardiovascular Clinical Network, Country Health South Australia, Mark Oliphant Building, Science Park, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.
B Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney, 8 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia. Email: briony.glastonbury@sydney.edu.au
C Discipline of General Practice, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Email: caroline.laurence@adelaide.edu.au; tanya.bubner@adelaide.edu.au
D Community Point-of-Care Services, Flinders University Rural Clinical School, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Email: mark.shephard@flinders.edu.au
E Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Email: justin.beilby@adelaide.edu.au
F Corresponding author. Email: rosy.tirimacco@flinders.edu.au

Australian Health Review 35(2) 230-234 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH09792
Submitted: 8 June 2009  Accepted: 23 July 2010   Published: 25 May 2011

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Objectives. To describe the development and evaluation of an accreditation program for Point of Care Testing (PoCT) in general practice, which was part of the PoCT in general practice (GP) Trial conducted in 2005–07 and funded by the Australian Government.

Setting and participants. Thirty general practices based in urban, rural and remote locations across South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, which were in the intervention arm of the PoCT Trial were part of the accreditation program. A PoCT accreditation working party was established to develop an appropriate accreditation program for PoCT in GP. A multidisciplinary accreditation team was formed consisting of a medical scientist, a general practitioner or practice manager, and a trial team representative.

Methodology and sequence of events. To enable practices to prepare for accreditation a checklist was developed describing details of the accreditation visit. A guide for surveyors was also developed to assist with accreditation visits. Descriptive analysis of the results of the accreditation process was undertaken.

Outcomes. Evaluation of the accreditation model found that both the surveyors and practice staff found the process straightforward and clear. All practices (i.e. 100%) achieved second-round accreditation.

Discussion and lessons learned. The accreditation process highlighted the importance of ongoing education and support for practices performing PoCT.

What is known about the topic? Currently there is no rebate for Point of Care testing in Australia. Before the Australian Government can consider a rebate it has to be shown that PoCT is safe for patient care. Implementation of a quality framework and an accreditation model for PoCT is vital to ensure that clinical care is not compromised by use of this technology.

What does this paper add? This paper provides a model for PoCT accreditation that meets requirements of both the GP and scientific community. It reports on the first government-funded PoCT in general practice trial and illustrates what needs to be considered if the Government decides to fund PoCT in general practice.

What are the implications for practitioners? Description of a PoCT accreditation process highlights to practitioners what is entailed in following the interim standards for PoCT currently available. This study is an important piece of work as it shows that PoCT in general practice can be performed safely within a quality framework that meets scientific accreditation requirements.


[1]  Laurence C, Gialamas A, Yelland L, Bubner T, Ryan P, Willson K, Glastonbury B, Gill J, Shephard M, Beilby J, members of the PoCT Trial Management Committee A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the safety, clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and satisfaction with point of care testing in a general practice setting – rationale, design and baseline characteristics. Trials 2008; 9: 50.
CrossRef | PubMed |

[2]  Australian Government. Standards for point of care testing in general practice incorporating PoCT trial guidelines. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing; 2004.

[3]  Burnett D. Accreditation and point-of-care testing. Ann Clin Biochem 2000; 37: 241–3.
CrossRef | PubMed |

[4]  Pearson J. Point-of-care testing and clinical governance. Clin Chem Lab Med 2006; 44: 765–7.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

[5]  Shephard MD, Mazzachi BC, Watkinson L, Shephard AK, Laurence C, Gialamas A, et al Evaluation of a training program for device operators in the Australian Government’s Point of Care Testing in General Practice Trial: issues and implications for rural and remote practices. Rural Remote Health 2009; 9: 1189.
| PubMed |

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