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Point of Care Testing pilot program launched in rural Saskatchewan

Critical diagnostic services available in Maple Creek and Leader emergency departments

On Wednesday November 15 at the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek, Cypress Hills MLA Doug Steele and Saskatchewan Health Care officials made an announcement on behalf of Rural and Remote Health Minister Tim McLeod launching the Point of Care Testing (POCT) pilot program in both Maple Creek and Leader.  Three new pieces of POCT equipment will be available in each location.

"Stabilizing emergency services in our rural communities is a priority for our government," Steele said. "This innovative testing equipment is a valuable tool that will assist health care teams in rural emergency departments to acquire diagnostic information in critical situations and provide safe continuous care to patients."

POCT equipment allows for certain diagnostic tests to be performed in emergency room departments by trained nursing and other qualified staff when regular clinical laboratory services are temporarily unavailable, enabling emergency department services to remain open. 

"This equipment allows health care providers and physicians to make prompt decisions, making it extremely helpful in situations where there is a need for rapid results affecting critical patient care in the emergency room in the temporary absence of lab staff," Saskatchewan Health Authority, Integrated Rural Health, Physician Executive Dr. Johann Roodt said. "This technology has proven to be a very useful tool, and expanding its use to rural emergency departments is an effective and important added measure to stabilize services."

When laboratory staff or other providers for certain critical diagnostics are temporarily unavailable, POCT can be used onsite. 

Qualified and trained staff members will be able to perform a limited but critical range of medical tests, including hemoglobin tests, white blood cell counts, and troponin (cardiac) tests, when regular lab staff are unable to perform the test at the facility. 

Diagnostics could include determining if a patient immediately requires antibiotics or if they need to be transported to a nearby facility for more serious situations, such as a heart attack. The use of the POCT takes place at the patient's bedside or hospital location and provides results within 30 minutes, enabling the physician or care provider to make decisions about the care of the patient. 

Combined Laboratory and X-Ray technician positions are available across the province. Qualified candidates interested in joining Saskatchewan's health care teams can visit For more information on Saskatchewan's Health Human Resources Action Plan including rural and remote incentives, please visit

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