Physician offices are increasingly investing in point-of-care diagnostic testing– and with good reason. On-site diagnostic capabilities not only have the potential to deliver improved patient outcomes but also to reduce practice costs.
What’s the Point?
There are numerous reasons why physicians are moving away from sending outpatient samples and towards doing their own analysis in house. These include:
Point-of-care testing allows physicians to diagnose and monitor medical issues promptly and efficiently, addressing needs early and minimizing the need for return visits.
With shifting demographics and the increase in lifestyle-related diseases, point-of-care testing helps address chronic illnesses and improves outcomes among older or marginalized patient groups.
Today’s patients expect streamlined, accessible healthcare services. Point-of-care testing reduces the need to consult with outside providers, as well as the number of clinical visits.
New technologies make bringing testing on-site efficient, affordable and accessible, especially in rural or disadvantaged areas.
With patients increasingly shopping for healthcare, on-site testing can help distinguish a practice from competitors.
On-site testing can provide an additional revenue stream for practices, improving profitability and sustainability.
Introducing Point of Care Testing
Point-of-care testing offers a variety of benefits, but as with any new service, your practice should have a strong business case for implementing it. Before introducing point-of-care testing, ensure that you have a thorough understanding of what’s involved.
This includes assessing upfront costs, ensuring that you have enough staff along with the capacity to train them, and providing an appropriate, dedicated space. A lab testing area has specific requirements that may require a renovation or extension of space. It requires dedicated electrical outlets, water supply and adequate room for sanitization.
Moreover, you’ll also need to consider the types of testing that your practice will offer. Standard test menus include general chemistry, hematology, immunochemistry and rapid testing. The tests that you choose to implement will depend on your client mix, as well as the cost, complexity and demand. If a business case can be made for some tests but not others, seek out an external provider to assist with the latter.
Straight to the Point
Introduced thoughtfully and with an appropriate business case, point-of-care testing can improve turnaround times and decision-making capabilities while also reducing lab costs, wait times and repeat visits. The result is greater efficiency, improved patient satisfaction, and better profitability.