To identify opportunities to perform point-of-care (POC) testing and/or screening for infectious diseases in community pharmacies, provide an overview of such tests and how they are used in current practice, discuss how the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) affect pharmacists performing POC testing, and identify and discuss barriers and provide recommendations for those wanting to establish POC testing for infectious diseases services in community pharmacies.
PubMed and Google Scholar were searched from November 2012 through May 2013 and encompassed the years 2000 and beyond for the narrative review section of this article using the search terms rapid diagnostic tests, POC testing and infectious diseases, pharmacy services, CLIA waiver, and collaborative drug therapy management. All state boards of pharmacy in the United States were contacted and their regulatory and legislative websites accessed in 2012 and January 2013 to review relevant pharmacy practice laws.
POC testing for infectious diseases represents a significant opportunity to expand services in community pharmacies. Pharmacist education and training are addressing knowledge deficits in good laboratory practices and test performance and interpretation. Federal regulations do not define the qualifications for those who perform CLIA-waived tests, yet few pharmacists perform such services. Fewer than 20% of states address POC testing in their statutes and regulations governing pharmacy.
POC testing for infectious diseases could benefit patients and society and represents an opportunity to expand pharmacy services in community pharmacies. Existing barriers to the implementation of such services in community pharmacies, including deficits in pharmacist training and education along with state regulatory and legislative variance and vagueness in statutes governing pharmacy, are not insurmountable.