Released on November 15, 2023
Pilot Program Introduced at Maple Creek and Leader Hospitals
Point of Care Testing (POCT) equipment recently introduced for use in the Maple Creek and Leader emergency departments will ensure critical diagnostic services are available in these communities.
Cypress Hills MLA Doug Steele on behalf of Rural and Remote Health Minister Tim McLeod today, joined Saskatchewan Health Authority officials at the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek to announce the launch of the pilot program.
"Stabilizing emergency services in our rural communities is a priority for our government," Steele said. "This innovative testing equipment is a valuable tool that will assist health care teams in rural emergency departments to acquire diagnostic information in critical situations and provide safe continuous care to patients."
POCT equipment allows for certain diagnostic tests to be performed in emergency room departments by trained nursing and other qualified staff when regular clinical laboratory services are temporarily unavailable, enabling emergency department services to remain open.
"This equipment allows health care providers and physicians to make prompt decisions, making it extremely helpful in situations where there is a need for rapid results affecting critical patient care in the emergency room in the temporary absence of lab staff," Saskatchewan Health Authority, Integrated Rural Health, Physician Executive Dr. Johann Roodt said. "This technology has proven to be a very useful tool, and expanding its use to rural emergency departments is an effective and important added measure to stabilize services."
POCT is used when laboratory staff are temporarily unavailable. The POCT will be onsite, used by other providers for certain critical diagnostics, such as determining if a patient immediately requires antibiotics or they need to be transported to a nearby facility for more serious situations, such as a heart attack. POCT takes place directly at the patient's bedside or hospital location and provides rapid results in under 30 minutes, enabling the physician or care provider to make decisions about the care of the patient.
Leader and Maple Creek hospitals will each have three new pieces of POCT equipment, allowing qualified staff members that are trained to perform a limited but critical range of medical tests, including hemoglobin tests, white blood cell counts, and troponin (cardiac) tests, when regular lab staff are unable to perform the test at the facility.
Saskatchewan continues to offer Combined Laboratory and X-Ray technician positions across the province. Qualified candidates interested in joining Saskatchewan's health care teams can visit healthcareersinsask.ca. For more information on Saskatchewan's Health Human Resources Action Plan including rural and remote incentives, please visit saskatchewan.ca/hhr.
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