CLS Professor MaryAnne Stewart leads point-of-care testing workshops for physician assistant students
On Tuesday, March 30, Assistant Clinical Professor MaryAnne Stewart and four students from the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) program presented a series of sessions on point-of-care testing to students in the Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) program.
While traditional diagnostic testing has occurred in a complex laboratory, point-of-care testing happens as close to the patient as possible – such as in an emergency room or doctor's office – in an effort to diagnose and treat them quickly and effectively.
"Because so much patient care is provided by physician assistants, it is critical for them to know how to properly administer and process point-of-care diagnostic tests," Stewart said.
During the sessions, Stewart and CLS student assistants emphasized the importance of sensitivity, specificity, accuracy and precision. PAS students performed quality control on tests for urinalysis, pregnancy testing and rapid strep A testing. They also covered when these tests would be ordered, what interfering substances could cause erroneous results, and why quality control is so important.
"Many manufacturers and health care practitioners have been pushing for decades to decentralize some of this testing, and to bring the testing and the diagnoses closer to the patient," Stewart said. "Point-of-care testing is advancing the effort to improve care and patient outcomes."