Keeping Iron Man Athletes Safe

IronmanKeeping Iron Man Athletes Safe

June 2016 

NSW Health Pathology officers were on stand-by at this year's Port Macquarie Iron Man in April to offer athletes free point of care testing. 

The testing available included measuring of blood oxygen levels, hydration and electrolyte balance.  Troponin tests to measure potential cardiac activity were also on-hand but thankfully not required.

Chris Romero and Karen Mewett - normally based at Kempsey Hospital’s laboratory - were offering the pathology testing for athletes for the sixth year.

“We’re proud to be part of the medical team and join the doctors and medical students offering their time to help keep the athletes safe and well,” said Karen.

“Thankfully we’ve never had a serious medical emergency but it’s reassuring to know that these devices can pinpoint a serious issue immediately if there is one.

“It’s life-saving technology but just as importantly, it can also indicate when a patient is not in danger.  That rules out an unnecessary trip to the emergency department and the person can go home with their family

“Last year we provided testing for around 30 athletes and it’s good to know that our public health service is joining forces with other volunteers to make this a safe and successful event.”

Kempsey Hospital received one new point of care device and had an existing device upgraded as part of a $5 million state-wide effort to introduce the devices to public emergency departments over the last two years.

The rollout has been funded through a $5million grant from the COAG’s National Partnerships Agreement Emergency Department capital program.

It has enabled NSW Health Pathology to deploy almost 400 point of care testing devices to 175 regional and rural emergency departments.

In addition to providing the devices for small EDs, the program also provided:

  • training for ED staff to ensure the devices are used properly,

  • technical support and ongoing monitoring for devices, and

  • software to enable results to be electronically transmitted to pathology laboratory information systems and ultimately to a patient’s electronic medical records.

Andrew Sargeant, NSW Health Pathology’s Point of Care Director said that using the devices at the Iron Man is a great opportunity to use technology to support better healthcare across our rural and regional communities.

“The devices have a lot of potential.  Right now we’re piloting their use on the road with ambulance officers," Andrew said.

“We’re excited to be working with Iron Man to support better care for athletes in the triathlon.” 

 “It’s all about providing fast, accurate, and reliable care to the patient and this is really just the start of better pathology services for our community.” 


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