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Process Optimization in the Emergency Department by the Use of Point-of-Care-Testing (POCT) in Life-Threatening Conditions: Comparative Best Practice Examples from Germany and Malta

International Best Practices in Health Care Management

ISBN: 978-1-78441-279-1, eISBN: 978-1-78441-278-4

ISSN: 1474-8231

Publication date: 23 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Point-of-care testing (POCT) at the Emergency Department (ED) attains better objectives in patient care while aiming to achieve early diagnosis for faster medical decision-making. This study assesses and compares the benefits of POCT in the ED in Germany and Malta, while considering differences in their health systems.

Methodology/approach

This chapter utilizes multiple case study approach using Six Sigma. The German case study assesses the use of POCT in acute coronary syndrome patients, compared to the central lab setting. The Maltese case study is a pilot study of the use of medical ultrasonography as a POCT to detect abdominal free fluid in post-blunt trauma.

Findings

This study provides clear examples of the effectiveness of POCT in life-threatening conditions, as compared to the use of traditional central lab or the medical imaging department. Therapeutic quality in the ED and patient outcomes directly depend upon turnaround time, particularly for life-threatening conditions. Faster turnaround time not only saves lives but reduces morbidity, which in the long-term is a critical cost driver for hospitals.

Originality/value

The application of Six Sigma and the international comparison of POCT as best practice for life-threatening conditions in the ED.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dorothy Gauci for technical assistance and proofreading.

Citation

Buttigieg, S.C., von Eiff, W., Farrugia, P. and von Eiff, M.C. (2015), "Process Optimization in the Emergency Department by the Use of Point-of-Care-Testing (POCT) in Life-Threatening Conditions: Comparative Best Practice Examples from Germany and Malta", International Best Practices in Health Care Management (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 195-219. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1474-823120140000017012

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015 Emerald Group Publishing Limited