Making a difference with Point of Care Laboratories

How point of care laboratories are changing lives across the U.S.

Throughout the grant cycle of the 2020 Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness program, Heart to Heart International will be highlighting some of the success stories from previous years. Every few weeks, we’ll highlight another example of the program is helping improve health for people in need across the United States.

In October 2019, a man came to The Health Hut in Ruston, Louisiana, complaining of headache, back pain and a general feeling of malaise. With only a single day off from work each week, it was hard for the man to find the time he needed to get proper care. But, earlier that same month, The Health Hut had been the recipient of a grant for a point of care laboratory system, which enables providers to perform laboratory testing on site and while a patient waits. This would prove to be invaluable for the man.

Because of this new laboratory capability, providers were able to diagnose the 42-year-old man with diabetes that day (his only day off that week). Providers started him on medicine immediately, and he was able to see a dietitian that day as well. He received appropriate education at the clinic and was seen monthly with medication adjustments as needed. At his 3-month visit, his HgA1C was down from 12.7 to 6.0.

Within one month of Heart to Heart International installing and training the staff at The Health Hut on the point of care laboratory, patients’ lives were already being changed.

“Thanks to your POC [point of care laboratory] grant, we were able to discuss lab results on his office visit day and minimize his time off work. This has been a life changer for him, and for his family.”

The Health Hut management staff
Staff at The Health Hut after receiving training on the point of care laboratory system.

Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness, funded by BD, a leading global medical technology company, and implemented by HHI in conjunction with the NAFC, provides awards to Free and Charitable Clinics with a desire to use point-of-care testing to diagnose and set treatment protocols with the goal of improving patient outcomes. 

Applications have closed for the 2020 Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness grant. A team of laboratory experts and partners will review all applications prior to selecting ten semi-finalists who will advance to the next round. This will include an onsite visit with a Heart to Heart International subject matter expert to evaluate each facility.

Staff receiving training on the point of care laboratory processes.

In 2018, St. Vincent de Paul Medical Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, was the recipient of a Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness (PoCECE) grant through a partnership with Heart to Heart International, National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics and BD.

This laboratory, which allows real-time testing and treatment for patients, is changing lives, said the clinic’s Chief Medical Officer.

“We just congratulated a patient who has struggled for 11 years to get her diabetes under control. For the first time her Hemoglobin A1c was under 7! When we started seeing her, she would cry every visit because she felt like a failure. Over time she could see how things were changing with frequent lab checks, medication adjustments and support services such as mental health and family wellness.

She ended up saying we saved her life. Thanks to our point of care labs, there was no frustration over not being able to get to the lab for blood draws or getting surprise bills after the fact.  We had the results that day and were able to make necessary treatment changes, getting the most out of every visit. Her life is completely different, without worries about diabetic wounds and glucose levels. She finally feels like herself again and can just enjoy being a grandma for the first time!”

Dr. Maurice Lee MD, MPH, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer, St Vincent de Paul Medical Clinic

Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness (PoCECE) is a multi-year initiative that provides grants to clinics that care for underserved and vulnerable populations throughout the U.S. The grants are used to equip the clinics with essential diagnostic point-of-care testing to help evaluate their patients on-site in a timely manner. 

PoCECE, funded by BD, a leading global medical technology company, and implemented by HHI in conjunction with the NAFC, provides awards to Free and Charitable Clinics with a desire to use point-of-care testing to diagnose and set treatment protocols with the goal of improving patient outcomes. 

Applications for this year’s grant cycle are open from January 6th through February 14th.  Six new clinics will be awarded grants for the 2020 grant year.

This program is one more way Heart to Heart International works toward its mission of engaging volunteers and collaborating with partners to strengthen communities through improved health access.

Categories: Access to Healthcare , General News , Lab Services