Evaluation of a training program for device operators in the Australian Government's Point of Care Testing in General Practice Trial: issues and implications for rural and remote practices
Shephard, Mark Douglas
Mazzachi, Beryl C
Laurence, Caroline O
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From September 2005 to February 2007 the Australian Government funded the Point of Care Testing (PoCT) in General Practice Trial, a multi-centre, cluster randomised controlled trial to determine the safety, clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and satisfaction of PoCT in General Practice. In total, 53 practices (23 control and 30 intervention) based in urban, rural or remote locations across three states (South Australia [SA], New South Wales [NSW] and Victoria [VIC]) participated in the Trial. Control practices had pathology testing performed by their local laboratory, while intervention practices conducted pathology testing by PoCT. In total, 4968 patients (1958 control and 3010 intervention) participated in the Trial. The point-of-care (PoC) tests performed by intervention practices were: haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and urine albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) on patients with diabetes, total cholesterol, triglyceride and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol on patients with hyperlipidaemia, and international normalised ratio (INR) on patients on anticoagulant therapy. Three PoCT devices measured these tests: the Siemens DCA 2000 (Siemens HealthCare Diagnostics, Melbourne, VIC, Australia) for HbA1c and urine ACR; Point of Care Diagnostics Cholestech LDX analyser (Point of Care Diagnostics; Sydney, NSW, Australia) for lipids; and the Roche CoaguChek S (Roche Diagnostics; Sydney, NSW, Australia) for INR. Point-of-care testing in the General Practice Trial was underpinned by a quality management framework which included an on-going training and competency program for PoCT device operators. This article describes the design, implementation and results of the training and competency program.