Making the Case for Point-of-Care Testing

The Piccolo xpress (Abaxis) comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) recently became the first CMP to be granted Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-waived status by the FDA. With this waiver, providers can now conduct comprehensive, lab-accurate chemistry analyses at the point-of-care in minutes under a simple certificate of waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The waiver eliminates some of the barriers that kept many physician offices from performing point-of-care blood analysis, allowing them to improve patient care and increase office efficiency. CMP test results give physicians a comprehensive health assessment that provides critical information for accurate diagnosing and triage of patients during their initial office visit. Instead of waiting multiple days for tests results from reference laboratories, physicians can ascertain an accurate assessment of health at the point-of-care. On-site testing also gives physicians the ability to check the effectiveness of an existing treatment plan and make adjustments in realtime. In addition to the CMP, eight other Piccolo xpress panels have been granted CLIA-waived status, including the lipid, lipid plus, liver plus, and kidney check panels. Considering that lipid-lowering agents are commonly prescribed, having the ability to perform rapid, point-of-care lipid tests combined with liver and kidney function tests is a great advance. The liver panel waiver is beneficial because many patients on lipid-lowering therapies are required to have their liver function tested every 4 to 6 months. The kidney check panel, used primarily in radiology centers for assessing renal function prior to MRI and CT procedures, gives radiologists the ability to safeguard against potential kidney and cardiac damage from contrast medium injections. Improve Efficiency Point-of-care testing also helps...