Point of Care Testing
POINT OF CARE TESTING
There are two commonly used platforms for Point of Care Testing: POCT devices and an Immunoassay instrument. POCT devices include non-instrument devices such as immunoassay strips, cassettes, and cups. An immunoassay instrument is an automated platform that uses the same cross-reactivity tests for analyte identification. Both tests can be performed where the specimen is collected and both tests are inferior for analyte detection when compared with mass-spec technology which is why Federal and State governments require presumptive positive tests to be confirmed at a lab using sophisticated mass-spec instrumentation.
POCT Workplace Applications:
- Most commonly used in pre-employment or pre-access drug testing when an immediate negative result is desirable so that the hiring process can proceed or the individual can be put to work immediately.
- Post-incident or post-accident testing when required by employer’s policy.
Some employers utilize quality control measures for their drug testing programs by validating their POCT. In this case, a certain percentage of preliminary negative specimens are sent to a sophisticated laboratory for full screening and confirmation analysis. This is in addition to sending all POCT presumptive positives to the laboratory for screening and confirmation.
Point of Collection Testing Regulations:
- Most states that permit POCT do require that employers have any POCT positive or presumptive positive results confirmed at a certified or licensed drug testing laboratory before using the POCT result to deny employment or taking any disciplinary or employment action.
- There are a few states that prohibit POCT use for workplace drug testing programs or restrict it to pre-employment testing only (e.g. MN, MD, NV, NY, NC, and VT).
- POCT is not allowed for federally mandated drug testing programs (e.g. DOT, DHHS).
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