This section provides information for employed carers who undertake blood glucose and/or ketone testing in accordance with their local guidance and policy1NICE (2020) Managing blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes. Chapter 4 NICE Pathways. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Routine monitoring of glucose is recommended in the following circumstances (NICE 2020).
What is POCT?
Point of Care Testing (POCT) is defined as any pathology test performed by a healthcare professional outside a conventional pathology setting close to the patient.
Other terms commonly used to describe POCT include:
- Near patient testing (NPT)
- Bedside testing
- Extra-laboratory testing
- With Patient Testing
Types of POCT
- Blood Glucose Testing
- Blood Ketone Testing
- Urine testing
Why do we need POCT?
POCT used properly and appropriately can have significant advantages providing a result close to the patient allowing for rapid clinical decision making. However, if used inappropriately incorrect results can be produced and acted upon that may lead to harm.
Before using any POCT equipment, the user needs to be trained by an approved trainer/coordinator.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance is a system that monitors the accuracy of the results obtained by checking the meter, strips and user technique. There are internal quality control (IQC) and external quality assurance (EQA). External quality assurance may not be available in your area.
IQC – Internal Quality Controls
These are tests taken daily or weekly depending on the use of the meter and are control solutions with a known range of values. The solutions are applied to the strip and the results checked for accuracy. Results are recorded along with the date time batch number of strip and user details. A protocol should be in place and all users trained in IQC.
EQA – External Quality Assurance
This is when samples with unknown values are sent regularly (monthly, 2 monthly or 3 monthly) tested by the user and results are returned to the external provider. Results are checked for accuracy and if there are significant deficits in the results the user/site is contacted.
The Laboratory POCT team can either organise a local scheme or recommend appropriate accredited External Quality Assessment Schemes.
- 1NICE (2020) Managing blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes. Chapter 4 NICE Pathways. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Routine monitoring of glucose is recommended in the following circumstances (NICE 2020)