In a recent Whitehat Communications webinar--POCT Coordination: Managing Your Sanity as Your Program Expands Beyond the Horizon—Dr. James H. Nichols discusses current point-of-care testing (POCT) market trends, the importance of quality management in POCT, and he offers tips on how to successfully manage your POCT program.
Managing POCT is Challenging
Everyone involved in POCT oversight is acutely aware of the complexity of managing multiple locations, devices, and operators. As POCT continues to gain popularity, POC Coordinators struggle to manage the diversity of workflows and testing scenarios to ensure quality testing and meet regulatory requirements.
The lively, Pennsylvania-based KEYPOCC point-of-care team hosted the webinar and provided four poll questions that highlight some of the worries and stressors POC Coordinators face.
Biggest POCT Worries?
The poll results indicated that the biggest worry in regard to the future of POCT is managing large amounts of testing personnel (28%), with bringing non-waived tests into your waived POCT program a close second (24%). Large healthcare organizations can have thousands of end operators that perform testing, all requiring training and ongoing competency assessments.
Biggest POCT Stressors?
Along that same line, survey respondents selected tracking and managing training and competency assessments for end operators as their biggest stressor (31%); second to that, also related to end operators, was support of nursing service (16%). Managing time resources came in third (14%). The position of POC Coordinator includes a lot of “moving parts” that require attention.
Are you guilty of eating at your desk at work?
A whopping 70% of survey respondents admitted that they typically skip a traditional lunch break and eat at their desk while still working (e.g., checking emails, doing paperwork, etc.). Jeanne Mumford, BS, MT(ASCP), KEYPOCC’s President, while admitting she has been guilty of this, highly recommends that POC Coordinators use their lunch time to actually take a much needed break and to get out into other departments or areas and co-mingle with others on the healthcare team.
If Wishes Were Fishes: If You Could Have One Wish?
There is a song by Eric Boggle that includes the lyrics “If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets in the sea.” The KEYPOCC group had this in mind as they added a touch of lighthearted comedy and asked, “If you could have one wish to make one aspect of your program absolutely perfect, with no hard work on your part, which aspect would you choose to be perfect?
34 % selected “training and competency always completed on time and properly documented.” Other choices selected included:
Takeaways & the Secret to Managing Competencies
Based on the poll responses, one can conclude that tracking of end user competency assessments is one of, if not the greatest challenge POC Coordinators face. And, it is no surprise when you realize that end operators come from all healthcare backgrounds, are dispersed across different locations, have varying workflows, priorities, and lab knowledge. Then add in that the regulatory requirements are different between regulatory bodies and for waived versus non-waived testing. Keeping competencies up-to-date requires a six element competency evaluation for thousands of operators, resulting in a tremendous workload. Dr. Nichols’ sage advice is to transfer some of that responsibility (attached to job descriptions or evaluations) and make each staff member responsible for part of their own documentation!
Watch the Webinar, POCT Coordination: Managing Your Sanity as Your Program Expands Beyond the Horizon, on Demand
Dr. Nichols gives an excellent view point of what it takes to manage a quality POCT program; and the importance of laboratory professionals sharing their knowledge regarding lab testing with those involved in POCT. He discusses situations that need to be considered in management of your POCT program, such as operator errors, patient ID problems, sample collection caveats, and supply management, to name a few. And, he stresses the importance and value of POCT data management. You can access the webinar on the Whitehat Communications website and it includes continuing education credits.
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