On-site testing could help rural residents and taxpayers

RURAL and remote Australians could soon have on-site medical testing leading to massive savings for the country's health system.

A $95,000 study funded by the Emergency Medicine Foundation will determine the patient benefit and cost savings of point-of-care (POCT) testing that enables people to be tested and to receive their diagnosis locally.

The testing could save taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

The average cost of a remote area aerial evacuation is $8318.

Flinders University's Professor Mark Shephard said the research has the potential to lead to more point-of-care testing services in rural and remote communities in Australia.

Prof Shephard said doctors would be able to rule out potential acute problems, stabilise patients in their own communities or confirm when emergency evacuations were required.

"In simple terms, this research will determine whether POCT enables more people to be diagnosed and treated in their remote communities and whether it reduces the need for unnecessary and expensive medical retrievals," Prof Shephard said.

"Hundreds of rural and remote Australians are medically evacuated to city hospitals each year at a significant cost to the health system."


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