A new book published by AACC Press, Global Point of Care: Strategies for Disasters, Emergencies, and Public Health Resilience, offers a unique perspective on points of need in the community. Those who read the book will learn how to practice evidence-based medicine using innovative point-of-care (POC) testing, and they will also get an overview of how to enhance preparedness, response, and recovery in complex emergencies, natural disasters, and public health crises.

“The book with its fundamental principles presents an entirely fresh POC viewpoint, based on uncountable years of collective experience from authors around the world,” the book’s editor, Gerald J. Kost, MD, MS, PhD, told CLN Stat. “Hence, it is global and relevant to limited-resource settings. For example, it has a unique chapter on national POC testing policy and guidelines in Malaysia. Now, other countries, such as Thailand are actively producing national guidelines. Not only that, the Thailand Institute of Technology has initiated a project to produce a handheld HbA1c testing device for use in homes and primary care units, in order to abate prediabetes and monitor therapy of patients with documented diabetes. The book gives the reader the necessary knowledge and strategies to implement these advances and enhance public health resilience in general.”

A professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UC Davis, Kost also is the founding director of the Point-of-Care Testing Center for Teaching and Research at the UC Davis Health System and is a highly regarded POC testing expert. Kost and his co-editor, Corbin Curtis, gathered POC knowledge from 108 academic and industry contributors to provide a road map to the future of disaster response, emergency care, and public health resilience. The book’s 11 sections cover the gamut of POC testing from needs assessment and the role and perspective of POC coordinators to environmental stress, weather profiling, protection and biohazards and novel POC technologies and tests.

Kost said he hopes to see expanded use of rapid, easily performed POC tests, with results delivered quickly to patients or their medical providers. Innovation in this regard could lead to tests that quickly diagnose deadly infections like Ebola.

“These types of diagnostic platforms will be extremely useful for stopping outbreaks at the sources, such as in West Africa,” Kost told CLN Stat. “We expect the Roche Liat PCR-based system to garner CLIA-waived status and possibly to offer an Ebola test in a very compact format.”

The future growth of this type of POC testing offers exciting possibilities. Ultimately, advanced molecular diagnostic POC tests will enable what Dr. Kost has coined, “FAST POC,” that is, Facilitated-Access Self-Testing Point of Care. FAST POC refers to targeted testing in the home, primary care site, or easily accessible neighborhood clinic, that can be performed by persons exposed to deadly diseases themselves without exposing others, Kost explained. He also envisions FAST POC as testing that could be “performed before the patient reluctantly presents to treatment centers with high fevers and other obvious manifestations of advanced disease, having already spread the virus around the community and exacerbating the epidemic. The book prepares the reader for this future, whether it be Ebola or a new threat.”

The book can be purchased online at a cost of $118 for AACC members and $148 for non-members.