9 July 2011 (Saturday) - Near Patient Testing

Having taken up the local pharmacist on their offer of free diabetes checking, and seeing what happened, I’m wondering how reliable the concept of non-lab based blood testing is. The pharmacist who checked me out seemed to think my glucose level was high: bearing in mind the limits my lab quotes, it wasn’t (especially) high.

But at no stage did the nice lady doing the testing perform any QC whatsoever. And she seemed rather vague about the operation of the device. Rather than doing a blood test she seemed to be generating random numbers.

The problem with near-patient testing is that having generated a random number, people use that number. In my case I only wanted a ball-park figure. I haven’t got diabetes – that’s the result.
But when more accurate and precise figures are needed, why do people still believe these silly little uncontrolled hand-held devices? Here’s a worrying example of someone believing a hand-held random number generator rather than a proper laboratory result.
People died in this case….

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