Around 30 years ago the concept of point of care testing (POCT) was first implemented, and since then the healthcare sector hasn’t looked back. The global point of care diagnostics market has grown exponentially since its implementation and is predicted to continue to grow at a CAGR of around 11% between 2020 and 2025 (1). POCT can be defined as diagnostic testing that is performed outside a centralised laboratory, at or near the site of the patient. POCT is also known by a whole host of other names, extra-laboratory testing or bedside testing to mention a couple. However, regardless of the name, the aim is universal: to provide cost effective, accessible and reliable diagnostics testing that provides rapid results (2).
In many cases the progression from bench to bedside testing was not achievable until more recent developments in technology, and this comes with the range in complexity of different POCT devices and their different needs. For instance, simple tests such a dipstick for urinalysis have been around a great deal longer than handheld blood glucose meters or the even more intricate benchtop blood analyser (3).
What is the demand for POCT?
One of the main driving factors for the increasing demand in POCT testing is the speed of results. Large volume laboratory testing is viewed as a cost effective and highly accurate method for diagnostics, however with lengthy protocols their turnaround times are seen as counterproductive. Furthermore, laboratories of this sort are often only found in highly populated areas, and therefore do not provide for patients in rural settings. POCT provides rapid results which has allowed for rapid clinical decision making that ultimately provides better healthcare (4). POCT in most scenarios is able to maintain a low cost whilst being accessible to patients in all settings. Numerous studies have concluded that the implementation of POCT in the emergency department of a hospital, greatly reduced the mortality rates of patients. This was due to the rapid results which allowed for the appropriate healthcare to be administered quicker (5) (6).
Another driving factor for the increasing demand for POCT is the increasing global prevalence of diseases such as diabetes. In 2020, blood glucose monitoring devices accounted for around 40% of the POCT market share (1). In the case of diabetes, POCT is used to monitor the disease as opposed to diagnosing it. Maintaining normoglycemia in diabetic individuals is incredibly important and can prevent serious adverse health defects (7). Without POCT, the level of monitoring that is necessary would not be possible.
Currently, lateral flow tests for Covid-19 detection have taken the spotlight as a POCT. The lateral flow tests are a cheap and easy method that allows individuals to screen themselves for the virus. They are effective in finding people with high viral loads who are most infectious and therefore more like transmit the virus. This method of POCT is a key part of the UK’s strategy to reopen the country. With regular testing that is only achievable at the point of care, the virus can start to be contained whilst normality resumes (8).
POCT case example
The human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of the highly infectious respiratory disease commonly known as the flu. The virus is the leading cause of acute respiratory infection and places a substantial burden on healthcare services. The flu can cause mild to severe illness with sudden and rapid onset of symptoms. The WHO account the virus for anywhere between 290000 and 650000 global deaths a year (9).
In the UK, influenza testing is based on clinical suspicion and the use of laboratory based rt-PCR testing, with result turnaround times ranging from 24-48 hours. However, due to the highly infectious nature of the disease and sudden onset, appropriate healthcare is reliant on a timely diagnosis (10).
Initially, POCT for influenza were antigen-based tests. However, these were found to lack the sensitivity required. More recently, rapid molecular tests such as nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) have been implemented. They can produce results in anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes whilst maintaining a sensitivity similar to that of the gold standard PCR (3). The rapid results achievable with POCT for influenza have resulted in significant benefits in the delivery of healthcare for the disease.
A recent study found that implementation of POCT for Influenza reduced the time taken for a patient to receive their first dose of anti-viral treatment, reduced the average length of stay for patients in hospital, and subsequently reduced the spread of the virus (11). This highlights the necessity for rapid results at the point of care, providing benefits for not only healthcare but additionally management of disease spread.
How does Integrated Graphene fit in?
The POCT market demands quick results for more timely clinical decisions, ultimately improving healthcare. Gii-Sens can enable this, with its >98% carbon purity, it can generate results at a rapid pace, faster than other electrochemical assays under the same performance conditions. Additionally, the results can be digitally uploaded to a cloud-based storage. The Gii-Sens technology also boasts a patented one-step production process. This ensures that affordable costs are maintained without the sacrifice of accuracy. This, along with its ability to be integrated into any biorecognition protocol, makes it perfect for any device in any clinical setting. Whether that be a simple diagnostics test for influenza in a remote area, or a more complex test in the emergency department of a hospital. These characteristics highlight our products ability to meet the current global demands for point of care testing.
If you would like to integrate our next-generation technology into your point of care testing, contact us today.
- Fortune Business Insight. The global point of care (POC) diagnostics market is projected to grow from $43.49 billion in 2021 to $81.37 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 9.4% in 2021-2028... Read More at:- https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/industry-reports/point-of-care-diagnosti. 2020.
- Point-of-Care Testing: General Aspects. Ferreira CES, Guerra JCC, Slhessarenko N, Scartezini M, Franca CN, Colombini MP, Berlitz F, Machado AMO, Campana GA, Faulhaber ACL, Galoro CA, Dias CM, Shcolnik W, Martino MDV, Cesar KR, Sumita NM, Mendes ME, Faulhaber MHW, Pinho JRR, Barbosa IV, Batista. 1, s.l. : Clinical Laboratory, 2018, Vol. 64.
- Public Health England. Point of care tests for influenza and other respiratory viruses. London : Crown Copywrite, 2019.
- Point-of-Care Testing: Twenty Years’ Experience. Wager, E A, Yasin, B and Yuan, S. 9, s.l. : Laboratory Medicine, 2008, Vol. 39.
- Point of care testing: improving pediatric outcomes. Rossi, A F and Khan, D. 6, s.l. : Clinical Biochemistry, 2004, Vol. 37.
- Point-of-care testing in the overcrowded emergency department – can it make a difference? Rooney, K D and Schilling, U M. 6, s.l. : Critical Care, 2014, Vol. 18.
- Blood Glucose: Measurement in the Point-of-Care Setting. Kiechle, F L and Main, R I. 5, s.l. : Clinical Laboratory, 2000, Vol. 31.
- Public Health England. Lateral flow testing – rapid tests to detect COVID-19. London : Public Health England, 2021.
- Global mortality associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: New burden estimates and predictors from the GLaMOR Project. Paget, J, et al. 2, s.l. : Journal of Global Health, 2019, Vol. 9.
- Impact of a PCR point of care test for influenza A/B on an acute medical unit in a large UK teaching hospital: results of an observational, pre and post intervention study. Mark I. Garvey, Martyn A. C. Wilkinson, Craig W. Bradley, Martin Biggs, Vinay Reddy-Kolanu, Husam Osman, Sarah Carmalt & Elisabeth Holden. s.l. : Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 2019, Vol. 8.
- The impact of point-of-care testing for influenza A and B on patient flow and management in a medical assessment unit of a general hospital. S. O’Connell, C. Conlan, M. Reidy, C. Stack, A. Mulgrew & J. Baruah. s.l. : BMC Research Notes, 2020, Vol. 13.