POCT in mental healthcare

As previously reported, a successful pilot study was conducted on the added value of lithium POCT in GGZ Breburg, department of Bipolar Disorders. We are pursuing our cooperation on POCT.

This year, our efforts are focussed on diagnostic care for patients with psychosis.

Leukocytes + differentiation point-of-care testing (POCT) has been around for some time but is still rarely used in healthcare. However, the Innovation Team has previous experience with ‘Leuko POCT’. Clozapine POCT has recently become available. At the request of the participating psychiatrists, we will start a living lab at the GGZ Breburg mental health facility with the following objectives:

  1. Increasing the percentage of clients using clozapine safely and successfully;
  2. Improving the quality of life for patients with psychosis through effective treatment with clozapine.


Clozapine has been effective for many years in treating patients with psychosis; this medication is used when other antipsychotic drugs are not sufficiently effective. However, it has serious side effects, interactions and complications. Very regular lab checks are required. There is an increased risk of leukopaenia and agranulocytosis. In addition, changes in patient consumption of tobacco or coffee or inflammatory responses may cause clozapine levels to rise, leading to a risk of intoxication.

Psychiatrists indicate that these risks could be a reason not to start treatment with this effective drug, or to stop prescribing it earlier than planned.

However, the many and regular venous blood draws demand a lot from these already vulnerable clients. Some of them are stressed by venous blood draws and would prefer to have a fingerprick blood test. Regimen compliance is therefore less than optimal. Psychiatrists also need rapid test results so that they can adjust the medication as quickly as possible if necessary.