Point of Care (POC) Versus Laboratory Performed Testing for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Patients

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Clinical Laboratory Safety in the United States. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Point of Care (POC) Versus Laboratory Performed Testing for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Patients

In two of the hospitals that received media attention in 2014 while caring for hospitalized Ebola patients (Emory University Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center), POC testing was used exclusively to care for the patients. Other facilities also chose a similar approach by implementing an array of diagnostic testing used to care for potential/confirmed EVD patients. The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) set up a designated room near their isolation area for EVD-suspect patients. The room provided the dedicated instrumentation and supplies required to perform a comprehensive offering of diagnostic tests. Diagnostic testing includes thin-smear malaria testing and rapid molecular diagnostic testing, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, and blood culture identification using BioFire's FilmArray® panels.
The value of this approach is that the testing equipment, personnel, and waste are segregated from the general workflow of the clinical laboratory and the rest of the hospital. This lessens the risk of cross-contamination, mitigating the risk of spreading Ebola.