RT Interviews Lawrence Cohen, President, ITC.


 Close is not close enough for Lawrence Cohen. While near-patient testing may take a clinician just down the hall, point-of-care patient testing is essential for the best of patient care, says Cohen, president of ITC, an Edison, NJ-based developer of hemostasis management and point-of-care testing technology. RT spoke with Cohen to find out more about the value of point-of-care testing.

Q: How does point-of-care testing differ from near-patient testing and why is point-of-care testing important?
A: Near-patient testing usually means that there is a small laboratory or location remotely located away from the patient’s bedside. Point-of-care testing does not require transporting the sample to another location, and that ensures sample integrity, positive sample identification, and immediate results.

For example, in the cardiovascular operating room, many institutions perform blood gas and electrolyte testing with ITC’s IRMA TRUpoint™ blood analysis system and coagulation monitoring with the Hemochron® microcoagulation system for immediate diagnostic test results and earlier intervention and treatment.

The clinician drawing the sample can easily perform testing and immediately act on the results without ever leaving the patient’s side, whether in an operating room or a critical care suite. That is true point of care.

Q: How does point-of-care testing create value for patients and RTs?
A: Point-of-care testing is important for the best patient care. It allows faster turnaround times of results and ensures that clinicians remain in control during the procedure. This can result in a patient spending less time in an operating suite or in recovery.

Point-of-care testing provides RTs with ultimate productivity. It improves workflow and provides timely results at the patient’s bedside. ITC point-of-care instruments are also self-contained and easy to use, requiring minimal training, maintenance, and calibration. RTs can draw a sample and analyze and adjust a patient’s ventilation quickly without ever leaving the room.

Both patients and RTs benefit when the patient is treated in a timely manner and can be moved to a “step down unit” instead of being in the operating room. Point-of-care testing improves the overall procedural experience and adds more value to the clinical outcome.

Q: What are the two most important elements RTs look for in a point-of-care system?
A: Results and reliability. These qualities pertain to both the system and the company providing it. Of course, RTs need lab-quality performance from a portable system that’s easy to use. They need results they can trust. However, guaranteeing these results means the RTs must also base their purchasing decisions on the resources of the manufacturer. Experience, knowledge, service, training, and support all weigh into the reliability of a company.

At ITC, we have focused exclusively on bedside testing longer than anyone else. We have unsurpassed experience developing point-of-care devices, implementing systems, and training staffs to use them. For more than 35 years, we’ve been helping clinicians get accurate results and make critical treatment decisions without delay directly at the point of care.