Healthcare facilities can use point of care testing (POCT) devices to improve healthcare delivery. The majority of these POCT devices are waived tests, such as glucometers and hemoglobinmeters. In recent years, however, more facilities have moved toward moderate complexity testing such as troponin cardiac biomarker, blood gasses, prothrombin time, and bilirubin. Most POCT devices are operated by non-laboratory clinical personnel, such as nurses and respiratory therapists. Under CLIA regulations, these individuals are classified as testing personnel (an individual who perform laboratory testing and report test results for patient care) and must comply with competency assessment regulations.
CLIA does not have any requirement for assessing personnel competency on waived testing; however, CLIA requires that waived testing results are accurate to assist in making accurate patient diagnosis. This requires that personnel follow all manufacturer’s instructions, which generally includes personnel training, skill assessment for QC and patient testing, device maintenance and infection control procedures as the device is moved from patient to patient. When waived tests are included in the main laboratory’s CLIA license, most accrediting agencies (CAP, Joint Commission, COLA, HFAP, etc.) will also require fully established and documented personnel competency testing on all personnel who performed waived tests. It’s not uncommon for a healthcare facility to receive findings of non-compliances on POCT personnel competency assessment due to incomplete QC (both internal and external) skill assessments for each personnel. Some healthcare facilities erroneously have the laboratory POCT coordinator or supervisor perform the external QC on their POCT. All testing personnel must know how to perform all QC and their corrective action for out of control situations and documentation requirement pursuant to the organization policy.
Reference: CLIA Brochure #10.
Information on policies or practices are solely from my personal experience ONLY and have NO relation to my affiliation with any regulatory or government agency.
-Caroline Satyadi, MT(ASCP), SM, DLM, SLS, MBA, MS, CQA (ASQ) has been a laboratory management professional for over 25 years. She has worked with several different medical industries for CLIA/CMS, FDA/ICH/ISO, TJC/CAP/COLA/HFAP accreditation survey readiness.