Vulnerability of point-of-care test reagents and instruments to environmental stresses: Implications for health professionals and developers

Richard F. Louie, William J. Ferguson, Corbin M. Curtis, John H. Vy, Gerald J Kost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Strategic integration of point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tools during crisis response can accelerate triage and improve management of victims. Timely differential diagnosis is essential wherever care is provided to rule out or rule in disease, expedite life-saving treatment, and improve utilization of limited resources. POC testing needs to be accurate in any environment in which it is used. Devices are exposed to potentially adverse storage and operating conditions, such as high/low temperature and humidity during emergencies and field rescues. Therefore, characterizing environmental conditions allows technology developers, operators, and responders to understand the broad operational requirements of test reagents, instruments, and equipment in order to improve the quality and delivery of care in complex emergencies, disasters, and austere environmental settings. This review aims to describe the effects of environmental stress on POC testing performance and its impact on decision-making, to describe how to study the effects, and to summarize ways to mitigate the effects of environmental stresses through good laboratory practice, development of robust reagents, and novel thermal packaging solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014



  • Emergency and disaster response
  • Glucose monitoring
  • Quality assurance
  • Risk mitigation
  • Standards
  • Temperature and humidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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