Point-of-care tests (POCTs) are available for rapid, “bedside” diagnosis of some causes of community-acquired pneumonia.
POCTs complement other laboratory investigations for pneumonia. Although their sensitivity and specificity are improving, they are generally less sensitive than nucleic acid amplification and culture techniques.
Questions remain as to the most cost-effective use of POCTs in clinical practice.
To ensure their maximum value for both individual patients and the public health system, POCTs are probably best used as part of laboratory-designed algorithms for investigating pneumonia.
POCTs are a valuable tool for surveillance, for rapid investigation of outbreaks, and for use in laboratories with limited diagnostic facilities.
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