POCT1-A is a communication standard for medical laboratory equipment that can be utilized at the hospital bedside, or at the “Point-of-care“ as it commonly known. This communication protocol defines XML messages exchanged over the interface between the equipment and the so-called “observation reviewer“ (“Point-of-care“ data manager). To send validated information to a clinical information system, POCT1-A uses messages created in the HL7 (Health Level 7) format. The messages are already aligned with the new XML message format that is also intended for use in HL7 Version 3.
To support the development of “Point-of-care“ equipment with integrated POCT1-A interfaces, we developed a “comprehensive simulator“ in addition to implementing the entire communication interface. This simulator is capable of replicating the behavior of any “Point-of-care“ device and can thus communicate with an “observation reviewer“. That means any PCOT1-A device behavior or error can be replicated and all events and exchanged messages can be documented.
The simulation capability is not restricted to the equipment side however. Our system also includes a PC-based program for simulating actual observation reviewer behavior and errors.
These tools allow us to test new POCT equipment and “observation reviewers“ for conformity to the POCT1-A standard. To streamline troubleshooting of the POCT1-A installation, the entire device-reviewer communication process is documented.