Design, implementation and initial assessment of the Northern Territory Point-of-Care Testing Program

Mark Shephard, Brooke Spaeth, B Mazzachi, M Auld, S Schatz, J Loudon, J Rigby, V Daniel

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The objective of the study was to improve pathology services in selected remote health centres from the Northern Territory (NT) through the implementation of a quality managed point-of-care pathology testing (POCT) service. Design: Study of the efficacy of the POCT service after 1year and qualitative survey of POCT device operators. Setting: The study was set in thirty-three remote health centres in the NT administered by the NT Department of Health. Participants: Remote health centre staff at participating remote health centres participated in the study. Interventions: The introduction of the i-STAT device to perform on-site POCT. Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures used in the study were the number of remote staff trained, volume of testing performed and satisfaction of POCT device operators. Results: One hundred and sixty-four health professional staff were trained to perform i-STAT POCT during the first year of the program. A total of 2290 POCT tests were performed on the i-STAT. The volume of testing consistently increased across the year. Tests for international normalised ratio were the most frequently performed (averaging 70 tests per month). Stakeholder satisfaction with the i-STAT device was high, with a statistically significant improvement in satisfaction levels with pathology service provision being reported after the introduction of POCT. Greater than 80% of respondents stated POCT was more convenient than the laboratory service and assisted in the stabilisation of acutely ill patients. Conclusions: The NT POCT Program has been operationally effective and well received by staff working as i-STAT POCT operators in remote health centres. Retention of remote health centre staff is the most significant challenge to ensuring the program's long-term viability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-21
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


    • Governance
    • I-STAT
    • Point-of-care
    • Remote
    • Satisfaction


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