Clinical staff knowledge and awareness of point of care testing best practices at Tygerberg Hospital, South Africa

Background: Point-of-care testing (POCT) is defined as testing done near or at the site of patient care with the goal of providing rapid information and improving patient outcomes. Point-of-care testing has many advantages and some limitations which affect its use and implementation. Objective: The aim of the audit was to determine the current practices, staff attitudes and training provided to hospital clinical staff. Methods: The audit was conducted with the use of a questionnaire containing 30 questions. One hundred and sixty questionnaires were delivered to 55 sites at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, from 21 June 2016 to 15 July 2016. A total of 68 questionnaires were completed and returned (42.5% response rate). Results: Most participants were nursing staff (62/68, 91%), and the rest were medical doctors (6/68, 9%). Most participants (66/68, 97%) performed glucose testing, 16/68 (24%) performed blood gas testing and 17/68 (25%) performed urine dipstick testing. Many participants (35/68, 51%) reported having had some formal training in one or more of the tests and 25/68 (37%) reported having never had any formal training in the respective tests. Many participants (46/68, 68%) reported that they never had formal assessment of competency in performing the respective tests. Conclusion: Participants indicated a lack of adequate training in POCT and, thus, limited knowledge of quality control measures. This audit gives an indication of the current state of the POCT programme at a tertiary hospital and highlights areas where intervention is needed to improve patient care and management.
Clinical staff, Point of care testing