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Frank Kaeberlein, M.D. Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Mercy Medical CenterCanton, OhioIn an effort to reduce the paper trail of lab tests and results within the emergency department at Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio, the 32-staffed-bed ED implemented point-of-care testing to provide quicker care for those in need of immediate cardiac attention. The hospital later became the nation's first fully accredited chest pain center. ED Chairman Frank Kaeberlein, M.D., shares how bedside technology has improved turnaround time, length of stay and walk-out rates.Kaeberlein: The key to point-of-care testing is that it is performed within the ED. You can do it either at the bedside or elsewhere in the department. We use the standard test that helps detect very minor injuries early on by revealing increases in cardiac markers in the blood. Running the test at the bedside eliminates wasted time spent transporting blood samples from the ED to the main lab.With the point-of-care testing machine, there are no operator-dependent steps that need to be taken. The machine does everything inside of itself and will not print out a result unless it reads it as accurate. The difference with point-of-care testing is that once patients come in with chest pain or equivalent complaints, they're immediately brought back from the triage area by a nurse who has the authority to run the test. So it's simply nurse to patient to machine. We have a total turnaround time from arrival to result of 30 minutes or less, as opposed to before when it took more than an hour. -Matt Rogers




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