Save the date: On April 28, clinical laboratorians will have the unique opportunity to participate in an online AACC conference that covers everything they’ll need to know about point-of-care testing (POCT) in patient-centered care, and in managing POCT programs.

The chief goal of “Leading the Way to Positive Outcomes: The Role of POCT in Patient-Centered Care” is to provide participants with quality information that focuses on the role POCT can play “in providing excellent, timely patient-centered care in expanding health systems,” Peggy Mann, MS, BS, MT (ASCP), the virtual conference’s program chair, told CLN Stat.  “To that end we are exploring topics that cover the gamut of program management and utilization of POCT in a variety of patient care settings.”

Mann is ambulatory point-of-care coordinator and program manager at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Healthcare System in Galveston, and has worked with POCT for nearly two decades. She organized the conference in collaboration with Ross Molinaro, PhD, DABCC, FACB, medical officer and head of medical affairs at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics in Newark, Delaware, and Lou Ann Wyer, MS, MT ASCP, CQA ASQ, director of laboratory services at Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia.

AACC members who take this self-paced, online program will receive tutorials from expert POCT leaders and have opportunities throughout the 1-day conference to take part in webinars, chats, and online discussions with POCT professionals about the challenges of POCT management and utilization. The program is worth 5 ACCENT continuing education credits.

The conference’s format, following those of prior AACC online conferences, is very user-friendly, according to Mann. As a participant in one of those earlier conferences, she found the platform very easy to use in navigating through expos, abstracts, and presentations. “I liked the ability to save presentations into my virtual briefcase to review later. I was quite excited to work on the program this year and appreciate the opportunity to learn how the ‘virtual’ platform works,” she said.

Advancing technology in POCT has overwhelmed laboratorians as they try to keep up and “do the right thing” by their patients and their providers and staff, Mann observed. “There are numerous challenges in providing POCT in current health systems, in conjunction with various limitations in funding for new instruments and advanced connectivity. Married to those adventures is the continuous need to participate in health system goals of expanding health systems,” she said.

Maintaining a high-quality POCT program calls for dedicated laboratory and clinical support, Mann said. “With this online conference, the organizers are reaching out to participants with fresh strategies and hope to engage them in reading posters and listening to excellent speakers.”

Mann highlighted a number of sessions she’s looking forward to, one of which is L.V. Rao’s session on factors affecting test results. As the senior clinical laboratory director and associate clinical professor at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Department of Pathology, Rao “brings a wealth of knowledge into our conference directed at the role of POCT in patient centered care,” she said.

Several of Mann’s UTMB colleagues plan to discuss POCT topics in a joint presentation. Oscar Brown, MD, vice-chair of clinical affairs at UTMB’s Department of Pediatrics and chair of the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, will present a clinician’s view of using POCT in patient-centered care. John R. Petersen, PhD, professor with UTMB’s Department of Pathology and the director of its Victory Lakes clinical laboratory, “will present a laboratorian’s viewpoint of using POCT in diverse and sometimes remote settings to best serve patient needs,” Mann added.

POC diagnostics specialist Marcia Zucker, PhD, president of ZIVD and a previous presenter, is back by popular demand. Zucker will participate in the opening session, “Nurturing Your POCT Program.” Mann said to expect to hear about regulations and quality management strategies in this discussion.

Mann said she was especially proud of finding two medical technologists from Sentara Healthcare in Virginia, who will present in two different sessions. Dan “The Lab Safety Man” Scungio, will speak on laboratory safety and POCT in an Ebola Assessment Center. In addition, Shirley Church will helm the session “POCT Training and Competency: An Integrated Health System’s Blended Approach.”

Sign up for this exciting and informative online conference today, earn your ACCENT points, and gain a new foothold on the rapidly developing world of POCT. AACC members will save more than $100 on registration.