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The role of point of care testing in a safer smarter emergency department

November 28, 2017

Webinar presented by Tim Harris, MD, Prof., Emergency Medicine, QMUL and Barts Health, London, England


In this webinar we build on the points discussed in 2016 using recently published data to learn how emergency physicians can use point-of-care (POC) biochemical analyzers to improve safety and efficiency in the Emergency Department (ED).

The main role of emergency medicine is to diagnose and treat acute medical conditions. The rapid identification of critical illness is paramount. The key diagnostic tools at our disposal are history, examination, imaging and blood tests. Imaging is now integrated into most EDs, and emergency physicians are using point-of-care ultrasound more frequently with radiographs/computed tomography available within most EDs.

Previously, blood tests were sent to the lab, leading to long waits and repeated status checks for clinicians waiting for results to arrive. Point-of-care testing now offers an accurate and immediately available resource that will allow clinicians to identify critical illness and diagnose a range of conditions within minutes of their patients' arrival in the ED. This facilitates a higher quality of care while reducing the time to admission or discharge.

Point-of-care testing (POCT) has been available for several years but has previously been centered around blood gas analysis to assist with ventilatory settings. POCT has also had a reputation for limited accuracy with many blood tests repeated in the lab. Most analyzers are now able to offer a comprehensive metabolic screen including acid-base, electrolytes, renal function and glucose assays. Thus point-of-care testing offers accurate, rapid assays which, in many cases, precludes the need for lab samples. This speed and accuracy also facilitate rapid patient assessment and a potential reduction in overcrowding.

About the speaker

Tim Harris
Prof., Emergency Medicine
QMUL and Barts Health
London, England

Tim was born in the UK but has spent around half his life overseas. He trained in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine in Australia, and in Pre-hospital Medicine in Australia and the UK. He has worked in 43 hospitals in 11 countries and mixed training with travel for volunteer work in Africa, India and Samoa.

Tim has worked at Barts Health for 12 years and was appointed Professor Emergency Medicine at QMUL and BH in 2012. He divides his academic time between teaching and research. His main interests are point-of-care testing, resuscitation, ultrasound, and procedural sedation but most academic time is working to facilitate large multi-centre studies at BH.

BH research team have run 15 portfolio studies and published over 60 scientific papers in their four-year existence. Tim is CLRN and ultrasound lead for North Thames, and chairs the London Emergency Medicine Academic committee. He supervises the academic trainee and academic students in their research programs and runs the undergraduate and some of the post-graduate teaching programs. He provides clinical governance to East Anglia Air Ambulance. This is why he kitesurfs so badly.

Who should attend?

  • Emergency department physicians and nurses
  • Laboratorians
  • Point-of-care coordinators 

Continuing education For US participants

  • One PACE® credit will be provided for each session. Whitehat Communications is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® Program.
  • Each session is approved for 1 Florida CE credit
    Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel approved number: 50-12563

For international participants

  • A Certificate of Attendance will be available for all sessions for international participants to submit to their appropriate accrediting agencies

This webinar will:

  • Analyze the impact of POC testing on ED patient flow
  • Explain the effects of POC testing on rapid identification of critical illness (sepsis etc.)
  • Describe the ways in which POC testing enables safer imaging

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