POC testing is an additional activity undertaken by staff for a service previously provided by the laboratory. In addition, it requires the POC testing instrument (Fig. 4) to be maintained and for a quality assurance program to be in place. There may, therefore, be more inconvenience, rather than less. The benefit comes from the speed of result return and the immediacy of availability of information. Although this advantage is intuitive,

Fig. 4. Available POC instruments (the CD next to the instruments is for perspective with respect to size): (A) Cardiac Reader (Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis); (B) Triage (Biosite, San Diego, CA); (C) Stratus CS (Dade Behring, Newark, DE).

it is difficult to quantify. A systematic survey of ED staffbefore and after implementation of a rapid diagnostic service with a satellite laboratory (hence a rapid laboratory service rather than true POC testing) showed that the staff valued the improved service available from this "close to patient" testing service (26).

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