May 26, 2022

What is Point of Care Software?

We talk a lot about the importance of connectivity as part of the Point of Care Testing (POCT) workflow but…

We talk a lot about the importance of connectivity as part of the Point of Care Testing (POCT) workflow but we know that connectivity solutions can be confusing. When it comes to POCT there’s a lot out there and it’s hard to know what solutions are right for your practice. Each type of solution is different so it’s not like comparing apples to apples. We wanted to start to break down some concepts when it comes to connectivity for the point of care.

Point of Care Software

Point of care software is a type of middleware. The College of American Pathologists defines middleware as any software that “sits in the middle” between two different sets of devices, systems or software. In the case of point of care lab testing, this would mean connecting lab devices to an Electronic Health Record (EHR).

Why is POC software needed?

Point-of-care testing (POCT) is one of the fastest growing aspects of clinical laboratory testing. It is estimated to be increasing by at least 10–12 % per year, with some areas increasing 30 % per year.

In an article published by the NIH Connectivity Strategies in Managing a POCT Service they discuss that the greatest benefit of a point of care test is the rapid turnaround time (TAT). 

“The diversity of point-of-care testing locations, devices, and operators makes its management and connectivity challenging”

POC devices use multiple different communication standards and on the other end, EHRs use multiple different communication standards. To act as a connectivity between the device communication and the EHR communication you need a middleware. Middleware is software that sits in the middle and joins these two worlds together.

What is a Laboratory Information System?

A laboratory information system (LIS) is a healthcare connectivity solution that records, manages, and stores patient data for clinical laboratories. An LIS is used for sending lab test orders to the instruments, tracking those orders then recording the results in a database. An LIS is a very complex system that offers a large array of tracking features around collection, routing, accessioning, and more. An LIS can also include decision-support rules that guide workflow. They are heavyweight applications that require a difficult install process and are usually very expensive.

Ideally the LIS will interface with an EHR, but they are often used as standalone systems that can be linked to lab billing systems and other operational softwares. For this reason, an LIS is mostly used in acute care settings with large laboratory equipment and a vast point of care network. 

Some recognizable names in the LIS world are Orchard, LABDAQ, Labware, and Medicus LIS. 

What is a POC Data Manager?

A Point of Care (POC) data manager is a connectivity solution built just for point of care. POC data managers usually have bidirectional connectivity to manage a large number of point of care devices spread across a hospital. POC data managers do send results to either an EHR or LIS but also focus heavily on device management and operator management. Though not as complex as an LIS, a POC data manager is often a large application that takes time and a moderate amount of money to install. 

POC data managers are usually only found in the hospital setting.

Some recognizable names of data managers are Abbott RALS, Telcor, and Siemens UniPOC.

Non-hospital Middleware

For sites outside a hospital, there is a solution. Middleware built for the non-hospital market, such as Relaymed, is a low cost alternative to an LIS or a POC data manager. With this type of software you get the key benefit of having connectivity, which is getting your results from the device to the EHR, but without the complexity.

Non-hospital middleware is built for everything outside the hospital from urgent care clinics to large physician groups.

We’ll be honest… right now the only recognizable name in non-hospital middleware is us! 

How does our middleware work?

To enable devices to communicate with EHRs there needs to be a communication engine, ours is called the Relaymed Software Agent. Our clients simply download and install this extremely lightweight software to a PC (no more time consuming or complicated than Skype) and after connecting the devices to the PC, results are able to be sent to the cloud based middleware. The best part is, there are no device specific drivers, just the software agent, which can connect any POC device.

Learn more about how we work

Open POC software (like Relaymed) allows devices from all vendors to connect, removing the need for device specific data management software. We work with all the leading POCT (point-of-care testing) vendors and are continuously integrating with more devices — both CLIA waived such as the CLINITEK Status urine analyzer and non-waived (moderately complex) like the Abbott CELL-DYN Emerald hematology analyzer.

View the full list of our device connections

On the other side POC software provides a seamless connection straight to your EHR. The EHR is the central repository for all results, so we ensure they get there automatically, instantly and accurately. Again, as an open system Relaymed’s software connects to all the leading EHRs.

View the full list of our EHR connections

How is Relaymed different?

Relaymed is very different to other POC connectivity solutions such as data managers and laboratory information systems. They were originally designed for the hospital and large lab markets and not suited to primary care demands, where speed and simplicity of use are paramount. 

Learn more about why you don’t need an LIS

As Relaymed is cloud-based, there is no need for complex and expensive servers or other hardware to reside on our clients side, which would be typical of an old technology approach used by other solutions. Relaymed instead takes a modern software as a service (SaaS) approach, available via affordable monthly subscription plans with no upfront fees — very different to the expensive upfront licensing costs of software of old.

Talk to us

Do you think that Relaymed might be a good fit for your practice? Want to know more? Give us a shout!

Schedule a demo

Further Reading

You may also be interested in one of the following articles.