Advances in point-of-care program enhance patient safety

by Kristina Groulx

Almonte General Hospital (AGH) provides an environment that encourages staff members to continuously look for ways to improve our patient care process. By assessing and implementing new and improved technology and instrumentation, we are better able to meet the needs of our patients.

One such improvement has been achieved with the recent implementation of Roche Accu-Chek Inform II glucometers, which went into active use across AGH on April 2, 2014.

The new glucometers are just one part of the point-of-care programs run at the Hospital that allow for testing to be done at the patient’s bedside. This gives the Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) quick and accurate test results, ultimately allowing for more timely management and treatment of our patients.

The newly introduced glucometers require only 0.6 microlitres of blood, obtained from a finger pick, compared to the previous technology which required 4.0 microlitre. They provide a result in only five seconds, instead of the 26 seconds that was previously required.

The ability of the new glucose meter to archive previous results has also increased significantly, from 480 to 5,000 results.

Patient safety drives everything we do. All users of the Accu-Chek Inform II meters must participate in Cobas Academy, an online training program, and must demonstrate their ability to perform testing successfully before they can use the meter for patient testing.

Training and competency of each user is tracked electronically and is validated upon annual re-certification.

The Accu-Chek Inform II meter requires health care providers to enter their personalized ID code prior to each use, along with a patient specific ID, allowing for an audit trail of all testing performed on the meter.

This process helps to protect patients and ensures that our point-of-care testing program meets national standards. The meters are also configured to require the users to perform quality control testing at least once every 24 hours, prior to proceeding with patient testing.

Previously, RNs and RPNs were required to manually document quality control and patient test results in a log kept with each meter on the units. With the new glucometer, control results and patient test results are transmitted through the Hospital’s wireless network to the Cobas IT program, which is maintained in the laboratory.

This electronic transmission decreases the probability of transcription errors, and will eventually allow for results to be transmitted directly into a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR).

Kristina Groulx is the Charge Technologist in the AGH Laboratory. National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is April 20-26. We thank Kris and her colleagues for their important contributions as members of AGH’s care team.