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Rapid blood testing speeds onsite treatment


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Editor’s Note: The author, Lorry Schoenly, has not tested or evaluated the brands identified in this column. They are only used as examples of available products.

By Lorry Schoenly

If I could put something under the tree for your medical unit this year it would be equipment for on-site blood testing — also called point-of-service testing. There are several brands available and any one of them could improve your medical services. In addition to streamlining your testing process, blood testing performed onsite can reduce transportation costs at your facility. Here are a few options for Santa to consider.

I-Stat Handheld Blood Analyzer (Abbott)
This unit offers a variety of blood tests including chemistry and hematology, depending on the cassettes selected. With results in minutes, clinicians can make decisions about changes in treatment that once required more complicated lab draws or hospital visits.

Coagucheck (Roche)
This unite allows PT/INR testing at your facility. Inmates taking anticoagulation medication (blood thinners) need close monitoring to maintain an appropriate blood clotting time. Clotting times that are too fast or too slow can cause complications and bleeding emergencies. PT/INR readings provide medical staff with the needed information to make changes in medication before trouble arises.

Instant-View Troponin Testing (American Screening Corp)
Along with onsite EKG readings, Instant-View Troponin Testing can provide clinicians with the information necessary to determine heart damage in a chest pain situation. Although Troponin testing at correctional facilities is somewhat controversial due to the specialized nature of the analysis, cutting-edge facilities are starting to implement this point-of-care diagnostic where sufficient medical staff are available.

Of course, accurately performing onsite blood testing requires more than equipment. Health care staff must be properly trained in using the equipment. Physicians and nurses must understand the application of test results to clinical situations. In addition, facilities must obtain appropriate certification from the Department of Health and Human Services to perform onsite blood testing. CLIA Waiver Certification allows appropriate use of onsite equipment outside a standard laboratory setting for a specific list of blood tests. With all these elements in place, you’ll be on your way to more efficient and effective healthcare within the security perimeter.

If you’ve been very, very good this year, maybe one of these onsite point-of-service blood testing products will be in your stocking this holiday season.

Dr. Schoenly has been a nurse for 30 years and is currently specializing in correctional healthcare. She is an author and educator seeking to improve patient safety and professional nursing practice behind bars. Her web-presence, Correctional Nurse, provides information and support to those working in correctional health care. Her books, Essentials of Correctional Nursing and The Correctional Health Care Patient Safety Handbook are available in print and digital on Amazon.

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