This review is based on a report commissioned by RCPA Quality Assurance Programs Pty Ltd, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing through the Quality Use of Pathology Program. The final report was submitted to the Department in June 2011.

As indicated by the acknowledgements at the end of this article, the author is extremely appreciative of the invaluable comments and information supplied by many local and international experts. However, the author is solely responsible for the content of the review, including any inconsistencies, errors or omissions.

The aim of the report was to summarise existing policies, procedures or guidelines which governed the use of point-of-care testing (POCT), particularly any mandatory requirements and quality management issues. For expediency, the review was largely limited to English speaking countries, or countries with clearly defined and publically available government policy. In addition, the terms policy, requirement and guideline are regularly used to describe aspects of POCT practice, with different authors or agencies applying these terms under slightly different circumstances or with a different emphasis. For the purpose of this review, appendix 1 summarises the interpretations which have been applied with respect to the terms policy, requirement and guideline. Appendix 2 provides a list of the many abbreviations encountered while researching this topic.

By its very nature, this type of review will always be incomplete and should be viewed as a snap-shot in time. Due to rapid progress in both the technology and the application of POCT, the measurands available and its implementation are subject to continuous change.