Work as a Team to Provide Point-of-Care Testing

More pharmacies will offer point-of-care testing for flu, strep throat, and other infections.

Think of this as another way for pharmacies to improve patient care...similar to immunizations and MTM.

Talk to your pharmacist about how you can get involved...and follow your state laws and pharmacy policies.

Expect point-of-care tests to be performed as part of workflow...just like Rxs. Tests usually take 15 minutes or less.

Explain testing usually isn't covered by payers, but may be less costly and more convenient than an office or urgent care visit.

Provide patients with consent forms...and set up supplies. For example, you may need to gather items, such as a tongue depressor and throat swab for a strep test...or a nasal swab for an influenza test.

Consider getting trained to collect test samples if your state allows it. But keep in mind, your pharmacist will need to interpret and discuss test results with patients.

Be ready to process Rxs for meds if needed. Pharmacists may be able to furnish antibiotics or antivirals under collaborative practice agreements or state protocols...based on test results and symptoms.

Help complete post-test tasks...such as adding results to patient profiles and scheduling phone follow-ups to see if symptoms have resolved.

Keep close tabs on test inventory and expiration dates so the pharmacy has enough stock...especially during winter and flu season.

See our chart, Point-of-Care Testing, for hep C, HIV, and other tests. And get our Point-of-Care Testing: Technician Checklist and our tutorial, Optimizing Workflow, to streamline the process.

Key References

  • J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2016;56(3):323-329.e1
  • J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) Published online Aug 29, 2019; doi:10.1016/j.japh.2019.07.011
  • (11-12-19)
  • Clin Infect Dis 2012;55(10):e86-e102
Pharmacy Technician's Letter. December 2019, No. 351205

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