WONCA Special Interest Group: Point of care testing

Point of care testing

A new WONCA Special Interest Group on Global Point-of-Care Testing was approved by the WONCA World Council in June 2013.

Point-of-care testing refers to pathology testing performed in a clinical setting (such as family medicine) at the time of patient consultation, generating a test result that is used to make an immediate informed clinical decision. The WONCA Special Interest Group on Global Point-of-Care Testing will provide a forum for WONCA family doctors of all countries to meet, discuss, learn about, promote, advocate and research the clinical utility and effectiveness of point-of-care testing. The Special Interest Group believes can point-of-care testing can provide WONCA with a new and innovative subtheme of service delivery, education, training and collaborative research activity. The Special Interest Group will provide the leadership and direction to realise the benefits of this technology for interested WONCA family doctors.

General membership is open to interested family doctors.

For more information email convenor

Convenor / Chair

Convenor: Prof Mark Shephard (Australia)

email convenor

Professor Mark Shephard OAM, BSc (Hons), MSc, MAIMS, MAACB, FFSc (RCPA), PhD is Director of the Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing in Adelaide, Australia (www.flinders.edu.au/point-of-care). Mark is Program Manager of the international ACE (Analytical and Clinical Excellence) Point-of-Care Testing Program for diabetes management which is now operating in seven countries, and is the Course Co-ordinator for the Centre’s Graduate Certificate in Global Point-of-Care Testing, which is the first postgraduate academic qualification in the field of point-of-care testing.

Within Australia, Mark manages the largest national point-of-care testing network, called QAAMS (Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services), which delivers point-of-care testing for diabetes management in over 170 Aboriginal medical services. Mark is Chair of the Management Committee of the Northern Territory Point-of-Care Testing Program, in which point-of-care testing for acute and chronic diseases is conducted in 44 remote health centres in the Territory.

Mark is also a Chief Investigator on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)-funded randomised trial of point-of-care testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea in remote Australian Aboriginal communities called TTANGO (Test, Treat and Go). Mark was also one of seven Chief Investigators for the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence (CCRE) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (2003-2008). His unit was one of the three lead organisations charged with the delivery of the Australian Government’s Point-of-Care Testing in General Practice Trial, which involved 53 general practices and just under 5000 patients with chronic disease (2005-2007).

Mark has the unique dual honour of being the recipient of (i) the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Australian honours list and (ii) an Australian of the Year Award in 2004. These awards primarily acknowledged Mark’s work in Point-of-Care Testing. In 2009, Mark was the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from Flinders University, which recognised his significant contributions to the improvement of Aboriginal health in Australia and his services to the University. In 2011, Mark was elected as a Founding Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s (RCPA) Faculty of Science. Mark has also served as Chair of the Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) Point of Care Testing Working Party (2004-5). Since 2010, he has been Co-Chair of the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists (AIMS) Working Committee on Point-of-Care Testing for Infectious Disease and Drugs of Abuse.

Mark is honoured to be the inaugural convenor of WONCA’s Special Interest Group on Global Point-of-Care Testing.

Co-Convenor or other office bearers


Lara Motta BMedSc (Hons) a Research Assistant at the Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing. Lara is the International Point-of-Care Co-ordinator for the ACE (Analytical and Clinical Excellence) Program and the Web Manager for the Centre’s Graduate Certificate in Global Point-of-Care Testing.

Within Australia, Lara assists with training device operators and supervising quality testing for the QAAMS Program, the Northern Territory Point-of-Care Testing Program, and the Diabetes Management Along the Mallee Track program (which operates in rural Victoria). Lara is also involved in the TTANGO (Test, Treat and Go) research trial investigating point-of-care testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

Lara achieved First Class Honours in 2011 for her honours thesis titled ‘Optimising Point-of-Care Testing Services for Diabetes Management in the Victorian Mallee Track’, and was awarded the Flinders University Medal in 2012 and the Neil Della Scholarship in 2011; both awards recognise her outstanding academic performance as an undergraduate student at Flinders.

Lara was as an invited speaker on point-of-care testing for HIV at the 28th Annual NRL (National Serology Reference Laboratory) Workshop in Canberra, Australia in 2010 and has developed a video lecture on point-of-care testing for HIV in low resource settings in a collaboration with the University of Davis, California.

Executive Members

• Dr Anthony Omolola, Africa
• Dr Ndi Okwuosa, Africa
• Assoc Prof Bohumil Seifert, Europe
• Dr Cristina Isar, Europe
• Dr Tim Kolotyluk, North America
• Dr Raman Kumar, South Asia
• Dr Jose’ Carlos Prado Junior, Iberoamericana
• Dr Dalal AlArfaj, East Mediterranean
• Dr Igor Toskin, Europe (WHO Observer)

Membership Open?

Vision and Mission of WONCA SIG on Point of care testing


The Special Interest Group on Global Point-of-Care Testing aims to:
  • Provide family doctors from all countries with an education, training and research forum to enable the practice of point-of-care testing to be integrated safely and sustainably into family medicine for the clinical benefit of patients under their care;
  • Provide a primary point of leadership, advocacy, opportunity and knowledge exchange for the practice of POCT in family medicine.

Objectives of the WONCA SIG on Point of care testing

The objectives of this Special Interest Group are to:

  • Raise awareness of the scope and application of point-of-care testing for the detection and management of chronic, acute and infectious diseases in family medicine, particularly in rural and remote practices and in developing countries
  • Provide web-based education and learning opportunities for family doctors (and their staff) to attain and upskill their knowledge on the practice of point-of-care testing, on the clinical utility of point-of-care tests and on point-of-care testing device options (including their advantages and limitations) for measuring selected tests
  • Conduct workshops at future WONCA meetings to provide networking opportunities for interested family doctors as well as the ability to view current/new point-of-care testing technology
  • Develop tailored educational material to target the specific regional needs of WONCA family practices and their communities
  • Facilitate the opportunity for family doctors (and their staff) to engage in postgraduate education on point-of-care testing
  • Provide training opportunities in the use of selected point-of-care testing devices
  • Provide a framework for interested family doctors and their practices to participate collaboratively in working point-of-care testing field programs that have been co-ordinated by the Special Interest Group, and to disseminate and publish practice experiences and research results.

The Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing will act as the global administrative hub for the WONCA Special Interest Group on Global Point-of-Care Testing.


Publications & Documents


Report July 2015

January 2015 newsletter

Report on workshop in Kuching May 2014

Activities Statement

The WONCA Special Interest Group on Global Point-of-Care Testing will initially focus on the following activities:

  • Developing and implementing e-learning opportunities for family doctors to access information and to exchange knowledge on state-of-the art practices for point-of-care testing (commencing year 1 and on-going)
  • Developing an on-line framework for the training of family practice staff in selected point-of-care testing devices (commencing across years 1 and 2, and on-going)
  • Developing opportunities for interested family practices to participate and collaborate in point-of-care testing research programs, initially involving diabetes management (commencing in years 1 and 2, and on-going)
  • Developing a presence at future WONCA Conferences through the organisation of workshops and/or symposia on clinical applications of point-of-care testing (on-going)
  • Provide on-line and face-to-face opportunities for networking among WONCA family doctors in relation to all aspects of point-of-care testing (on-going).


Relevant Resources

General Web Links

World Health Organisation website on HIV/AIDS:

World Health Organization website on malaria rapid diagnostic tests:

World Health Organization Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and control of dengue fever:

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Rapid Syphilis Toolkit

International Diabetes Federation website and atlas on the global burden of diabetes

Relevant Articles

Shephard M. Point-of-Care Testing in Australia: The status, practical advantages, and benefits of community resiliency. Point of Care 2013; 12: 41-45.

Motta, L, Shephard M and Keen P. A review of the use of rapid HIV testing in community settings, with specific reference to Australia, Point of Care 2013; 12: 27-32.

Shephard M, Leibie A, Dimech W, Condie D, Nolan M. Guidelines and recommendations for the quality-assured conduct of point-of-care testing for infectious diseases and drugs of abuse in Australia, Australian Journal of Medical Science 2012; 33: 143-154.

Shephard M, Halls H and Motta L. New postgraduate academic qualification for Point-of-Care Co-ordinators. Point of Care 2012; 11: 173-175.

Shephard M. Point-of-care testing comes of age in Australia. Australian Prescriber 2010; 3: 6-9.

Shephard M, Shephard A, Watkinson L, Mazzachi B and Worley P. Design, implementation and results of the Quality Control program for the Australian Government’s Point of Care Testing in General Practice Trial. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 2009; 46: 413–419.

Shephard M, Mazzachi B, Watkinson L, Shephard A, Laurence A, Gialamas A and Bubner T. Evaluation of a training program for device operators in the Australian Government’s Point of Care Testing In General Practice Trial. Rural and Remote Health 2009; 9: 1189. (Online).

Laurence C, Gialamas A, Yelland L, Bubner T, Ryan P, Willson K, Glastonbury B, Gill J, Shephard M, Beilby J. A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the safety, clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and satisfaction with point of care testing in a general practice setting – rationale, design and baseline characteristics. Trials 2008; 9:50.

Shephard M. Clinical and cultural effectiveness of the ‘QAAMS’ point-of-care testing model for diabetes management in Australian Aboriginal medical services. Clinical Biochemist Reviews 2006; 27: 161-170.