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Martin Wilkinson*

In the last 10 years, the availability and uptake of nearpatient testing, also known as point-of-care testing (PoCT), has increased exponentially. Opting to manage PoCT in an overall framework for diversified testing is an opportunity for progressive laboratories rather than a threat. This transformation is essential to effective clinical care provision. It will also cement the laboratory service as a key stakeholder within an increasingly connected, patient-centric healthcare environment.

D

iagnostic laboratory services are

no longer solely provided just from one lab, but are also delivered across a range of places by many healthcare professionals using a variety of equipment. The options for patients to test themselves at home has become commonplace. The latest range of smartphone-enabled snapon devices has transformed testing so they are affordable and easy to use. However, this introduces data governance issues that separate medical-grade data from patient-generated therapeutic and wellbeing data. Health and care decisions remain reliant on accurate and timely data provision to the care provider. This diversification of the provision of laboratory test results necessitates an urgent redesign of the service, a rethinking of the ownership and accountability model, and a clear understanding of the relevance of this data in the clinical process. Having data is a by-product of all business. However, transforming data into a three-dimensional information model that enhances patient outcomes requires an integrated approach — one that must span the health, care and patient continuum with an appropriate information architecture to support the new ‘norm’ in the emerging healthcare market. Available today are pocket-sized devices that can monitor heart rate and the number of steps taken, and simple plug-ins that analyse glucose levels. Having the power to manage our health with

6 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - March 2016

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Lab+Life Scientist Mar 2016  

Lab+Life Scientist provides researchers, lab managers, department heads, scientists, academics, investors, and other science industry profes...

Lab+Life Scientist Mar 2016  

Lab+Life Scientist provides researchers, lab managers, department heads, scientists, academics, investors, and other science industry profes...