No waste of time with point-of-care testing
Previously, Åby Health Center had to send blood samples to the nearby hospital for analysis of white blood cells. By the time the result was received, the patient had already left the clinic. Now this is no longer a problem. Now, the staff at Åby Health Center can perform white blood cell counts themselves. WBC in combination with a hemoglobin test gives a good measure of the general health status of the patient.
The standard tests that Lena Sandelin-Karlsson, Clinical Laboratory Scientist at Åby Health Center, performs on all patients are blood glucose, hemoglobin (Hb), CRP and total white blood cell counts (WBC). This gives a good indication of the patient’s health. It is only if the results are ambiguous or if clinical signs are unclear, that a blood sample is sent to the hospital laboratory for further investigation. Samples for full blood cell counts are rarely sent from the health center – it happens most often with anemia investigations.
"The good thing with point-of-care testing is that we have the results in only a couple of minutes. If something looks abnormal we can perform additional testing immediately since the patient is still here, and also send samples for analyses to the hospital if necessary", says Lena Sandelin- Karlsson.
During two months Lena Sandelin-Karlsson has been using the HemoCue® WBC and compared it to the CRP testing. During the trial period she performed a WBC test each time the doctor ordered a CRP test, which in some countries is a frequently used infection marker.
"WBC and CRP tests are good complements to each other. The important thing is that the results are available during the patient visit. It also saves both time and money for us and hopefully it decreases unnecessary use of antibiotics".
Before Åby Health Center had the possibility to test WBC on site, Lena Sandelin-Karlsson often took care of the transportation of blood samples herself. Samples from patients visiting the center in the afternoon when the transport had already left, could not be left in the fridge over night and Lena Sandelin-Karlsson therefore brought them to the hospital herself on her way home.
"Many of our patients are elderly and for many of them it may not be easy to get to the health center. I really felt sorry when I had to ask them to come back the next morning just to have a blood sample taken. Then I found it much better to deliver the samples to the lab myself. Now, I don’t have to worry about this anymore and the good thing is that the physician can discuss the test results with the patients at once".
Lena Sandelin-Karlsson definitely recommends others to use the HemoCue® WBC as test for a quick indication of the patients’ condition.
"With chronic conditions, additional testing is probably necessary but for those conditions time is not an issue. It is in acute conditions that point-ofcare testing is outstanding".
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