Laboratory professionals have long struggled with the conundrum of having non-laboratory trained operators performing point-of-care testing (POCT), which can result in pre-analytical errors. With the continued growth of POCT, this concern remains valid. To attempt to address this area of shortcoming, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) has launched a new certification for POCT operators, specifically non-laboratory trained healthcare workers who perform POCT. Those individuals who complete the certification process and pass will be Certified Point-of-Care Testing Professionals (CPP).

Continued Expansion of POCT Predicted
POCT is expected to continue growing as technologies advance and healthcare organizations shift to find ways to improve care and reduce healthcare spending. This means point-of-care coordinators (POCCs) and managers will continue to face the challenge of training and competency assessments for operators across many locations and from diverse healthcare backgrounds. The CPP certification can help provide appropriate training to get those individuals up to speed and help them understand all the variables involved in accurate POCT results.

Point-of-care testing – testing done with or near a patient – is among the fastest growing disciplines within laboratory medicine and clinical diagnostics. As healthcare becomes more consumer-focused the need for convenient diagnosis, monitoring, and screening tests is expanding worldwide.”

-AACC Release

CPP Certification Can Improve POCT Quality
With this new certification, POC coordinators and managers have support for training and can have more confidence that the end operators are competent in performing POCT. AACC’s Board of Certification will oversee the program that will include training in the following areas as it relates to POCT:

  • Regulations and compliance
  • Quality management
  • Education and training
  • Instrument selection and validation/verification
  • Connectivity and information technology
  • Leadership and communication
  • Sample types
  • Policies and procedures
  • Clinical applications
  • Technology and methodology

How to Apply for the CPP Certification Exam
The 2018 exam period is set for November 2-9, and the deadline for registering is September 30, 2018. There is an application and sitting fee of $249 for AACC members and $349 for non-members. Applicants interested in the CPP certification must provide documentation of the following:

  • A four-year degree in a biological or physical science
  • A minimum of two years of POCT experience
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to professional qualifications

For more information, visit AACC’s website: https://www.aacc.org/education-and-career/point-of-care-testing-professional-certification

Laboratory Professionals Are Well-equipped to Oversee POCT
Laboratory professionals are well-equipped with the knowledge to ensure POCT is applied in the appropriate patient scenarios and that test results meet quality requirements. Encouraging the CPP certification is another tool POCCs can use to help ensure properly trained individuals are performing POCT. Leaders in laboratory medicine who are actively engaging with and harnessing these innovations can help improve the way we care for patients.

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Notes

  1. “AACC launches point-of-care professional certification” (2018, August 2). MLO.