Three key guiding principles of rural and remote clinical services are to improve health access, improve outcomes, and reduce inequity. In New Zealand as in other countries, point-of-care testing and technologies can assist in clinical decision-making for acute and chronic conditions and can help to achieve these key health principles for people living in rural and remote locations. This report is a companion article to the other point-of-care testing topics in this special section in this journal.
To provide readers with insights into where and how point-of-care testing devices and tests can be implemented to improve outcomes in New Zealand settings without on-site pathology laboratory support. The settings in which point-of-care testing devices and the success stories associated with these initiatives include general practices, pharmacies, workplaces, rural hospitals, and sexual health clinics.
The information is extracted from published literature and also first-hand experience in remote and rural New Zealand settings. This report also outlines the regulatory and accreditation challenges relating to point-of-care testing devices in New Zealand and includes advice on the selection of devices, training, and ongoing quality assurance for this type of medical testing in remote locations.
Point-of-care testing in rural remote settings without laboratory support can be challenging and rewarding for clinicians. It is now, and will be in the future, an even more important component of the health system to improve outcomes and reduce inequity.
The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.