Beginning November 1, Medicare will list on-site tests for glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which will fund 190,000 tests for Australians with previously diagnosed diabetes.
Monitoring patients with diabetes is vital. Early detection and effective therapy can delay the onset and progression of late-stage diabetes complications and lead to better outcomes for patients.
HbA1c is a blood test that shows how much glucose was in the blood over a period of time. This is an important part of treating diabetes because patients with high HbA1c levels are at greater risk of developing complications related to diabetes.
Currently, HbA1c tests are being done in laboratories that require a referral and a visit to a collection center to have blood drawn. The blood is then sent to a pathology laboratory and the results are made available to the referring doctor. The patient then has another appointment to discuss the results.
The point-of-care tests are carried out in the doctor’s office by a suitably trained family doctor or specialist who is based on the relevant quality and safety standards and delivers immediate results.
The National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) is working with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) on an accreditation standard for the use of point-of-care tests in laboratories and non-laboratory settings to aid the listing of this item.