While the health care industry is continually evolving, so is the technology powering point-of-care testing (POCT). In vitro diagnostic tests can be completed during the patient visit, arming the primary care physician with prompt results. With 70% of medical decisions based on these test results, accuracy plays a critical role and has a significant impact on patient health.1
Because of POCT's proven reliability, the global market is expected to grow $50.51 billion by the year 2026, at a CAGR of 9.6%.2
The rapid turnaround time associated with POCT not only offers the patient convenience, but enables the physician to plot an effective course of treatment. Traditional medical testing can take weeks to render diagnostic results. Consequently, some physicians may prescribe medication and courses of treatment based on symptoms alone, with the goal of providing their patients immediate relief and peace of mind. This could put patients at risk of taking unnecessary medication, which can expose them to avoidable side effects and contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.
When physicians utilize point-of-care tests, results are available in less than 30 minutes more than 80% of the time and under an hour 98% of the time.3 POCT minimizes the gap between diagnosis and treatment, providing the patient with the healthiest outcome possible.
The value of accelerated results is vital for infectious disease control. When physicians can rapidly diagnose their patients, POCT can limit the spread of infection and generate a productive course of treatment. In the case of influenza, health care providers can test and diagnose during the patient visit and determine whether an antiviral prescription is needed to ensure a return to good health.
POCT can also be an essential solution for reducing the risk of complications. Rapid strep tests allow the physician to enforce an earlier treatment plan, decrease the risk of further infection, and reduce contagiousness.4
With chronic diseases such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), POCT can detect the virus in one physician visit. Discovering the virus early on is crucial to alerting patients of their condition, as a 2004 U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found 35% of those tested for HIV using non-rapid methods did not return for test results.3 Physicians with POCT-driven practices can deliver a diagnosis and immediately begin treatment, whereas non-rapid testing practices could leave patients unclear on their current and future health risks. In the case of HIV, POCT allows the patient to be mindful of their condition, take advantage of early detection measures, potentially prevent negative health effects from occurring, reduce the spread of the virus, and may end up with a healthier outcome.
While convenience and speed are attractive features of POCT, the most significant advantage of employing this testing is the potential for healthier patients and improved outcomes.
Henry Schein Medical's point-of-care team is ready to build your lab, implement POCT, and recommend the right products you'll need to elevate your business.
For more information on POCT or to conduct an inventory of your lab, please schedule a consultation with our point-of-care team.