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New Point of Care Testing device a win for rural health

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26th April, 2023

NSW’s most remote hospitals will soon perform a key, potentially life-saving blood test at the patient’s bedside and receive results within minutes, providing clinicians with fast, accurate results to inform patient care.

NSW Health Pathol­o­gy is part­ner­ing with five region­al Local Health Dis­tricts to intro­duce a new Point of Care Test­ing device, the Pix­Cell Hemo­screen, in 30 hos­pi­tals across the state with­out on-site pathol­o­gy labs.

The device will allow doc­tors and nurs­es to per­form one of the most rou­tine­ly ordered pathol­o­gy tests, a Full Blood Count, to detect poten­tial­ly life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions such as sep­sis, anaemia, bleed­ing and blood clot­ting prob­lems (ie low platelet counts).

The devices will be rolled-out to ser­vices in com­ing months, along with train­ing to sup­port hos­pi­tal staff to safe­ly and effec­tive­ly oper­ate the machine and to fol­low-up on abnor­mal results.

Gayle Warnock, Act­ing Oper­a­tions Man­ag­er, NSW Health Pathology’s Point of Care Test­ing Ser­vice, said the device will pro­vide blood test results with­in six min­utes, rather than wait­ing for blood sam­ples to be trans­port­ed and test­ed at a lab some­times hours away.

“This is a game chang­er for hos­pi­tals that do not have on-site pathol­o­gy labs and the patients they care for,” Galye said.

“Tra­di­tion­al­ly, these rur­al and remote hos­pi­tals would take a blood sam­ple and have it couri­ered to the clos­est NSW Health Pathol­o­gy lab for analy­sis, some­times hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres away.

“Now clin­i­cians can per­form this test instant­ly at the patient’s bed­side so they can make time­ly, informed deci­sions about patient care. This could include whether the per­son can con­tin­ue receiv­ing care in their local hos­pi­tal or if they need to be trans­ferred to a more spe­cialised facil­i­ty for treat­ment,” Gayle said.

“Repeat­ing the Full Blood Count test dur­ing the patient’s treat­ment also helps hos­pi­tal staff under­stand whether the person’s con­di­tion is improving.”

Our Point of Care Test­ing ser­vice com­plet­ed an exten­sive tri­al peri­od, known as ver­i­fi­ca­tion, of the Pix­Cell device in con­sul­ta­tion with our expe­ri­enced haema­tol­o­gists pri­or to start­ing the roll-out.

A clear process was put into place to ensure all sam­ples that are abnor­mal, or from patients with known blood dis­or­ders, are reviewed by a haematologist.

“These sam­ples will be repeat­ed in lab­o­ra­to­ries via our usu­al test­ing process­es to ensure patients, and the hos­pi­tal staff car­ing for them, receive high-qual­i­ty, accu­rate pathol­o­gy results to inform their care,” Gayle said.

“NSW Health Pathol­o­gy will also close­ly work with hos­pi­tal staff to mon­i­tor the over­all ser­vice and per­for­mance of the devices, and ensure they’re man­aged to the same high stan­dards as tra­di­tion­al lab instruments.”


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