With the rising implementation of point-of-care testing (POCT) in medical facilities, physicians can now offer patients real-time, lab-diagnostic test results to detect common illnesses like influenza and strep throat, while also testing for urine and blood abnormalities.
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POC tests supply rapid results that assist in diagnosing disease and infections. The technology powering POCT gives the clinician the ability to not only draw patient samples in the office, but also receive the results in the office, which can help accelerate the development of an informed treatment plan.
Real-time results can make a huge difference when it comes to fighting the Flu, Covid-19, and other respiratory illnesses. As we continue to battle global SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern like Delta and Omicron, early detection remains a key factor in preventing community spread and achieving better overall outcomes.
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
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.2 POCT minimizes the gap between diagnosis and treatment, providing the patient with the healthiest outcome possible.
When physicians can rapidly diagnose their patients, POCT can limit the spread of infection and generate a productive course of treatment.
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.3
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.
Lab Tests Online notes that POCT can reduce follow-up visits or calls, and reports that delivering the routine tests hemoglobin A1c, hemoglobin, and lipids at the point-of-care resulted in:
Armed with POCT's accurate results, clinicians can confidently treat their patients with a plan that may reduce the need for additional testing and limit unnecessary patient follow-up—all of which can improve patient experience.
Medical practices utilizing POCT platforms may be able to deliver results within 5 to 60 minutes, rather than hours or days, according to Abbott. By reducing the wait time for results, you can help generate savings of as much as $260 per patient. Additionally, the reliability and speed behind a POCT diagnosis can decrease time spent per patient—by as much as 46 minutes—allowing clinicians to accept more appointments or tend to other activities.
Not only does POCT ensure speedy results for both the clinician and patient, developing your POCT portfolio is an innovative way to cut costs related to the patient visit. The quick turnaround time can result in total savings between 8% and 20% across the entire patient flow, including laboratory costs, as stated by Abbott.
Leveraging the real-time results from POCT can have an immediate impact on your practice's bottom line.
As health care becomes more consumer-driven, practices are seeking more convenient and accurate diagnosis options to meet their patients' expectations. Reports and Data states that the estimated 71 million millennials (ages 20–35) are driving the need for immediate and reliable results. By providing accurate and real-time test results, point-of-care testing (POCT) can deliver vital operational benefits, including improved patient outcomes and opportunities for practice cost savings.
Patient health is a top priority for any physician, but so is running an efficient and streamlined practice. Identifying ways to reduce unnecessary patient follow-up visits or calls—and to eliminate the need for additional testing—could directly impact your practice's bottom line.
Medical practices are reducing their reliance on traditional testing and focusing on POCT platforms because they require an average 5 to 60 minutes to produce accurate results.1 Because of this accelerated delivery time, physicians spend less time per patient—as much as 46 minutes less—which allows practices to book more appointments or tend to other operational activities.1 This time savings can allow physicians to feel more productive while still treating their patients appropriately.
It's not just the speed of POCT that helps increase and streamline a physician's output—accuracy matters, too.
As POCT proves to be an innovative diagnostic tool by boosting promptness and accuracy, physicians are also witnessing a positive effect on their practice's profitability. With increased productivity, POCT may significantly lower the number of tests needed per patient; one study reported a 21% decrease in tests ordered per patient following the implementation of POCT.4 By combining the quick turnaround time and faster treatment decisions, medical practices can observe a total savings of 8% to 20% in laboratory costs and as much as $260 per patient.1
As POCT standardization continues to develop and implementation rises, physicians can look to leverage real-time results, realize tangible cost savings, and benefit from the impact on their practice's overall bottom line.
Traditional medical testing can take weeks to render diagnostic results. Consequently, some clinicians prescribe medication and courses of treatment based on symptoms alone, with the goal of providing their patients immediate relief. This practice puts patients at risk of taking unnecessary medication, which can contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as "one of the biggest threats to global health...today."
In addition to the risk of misdiagnosis, clinicians can unintentionally spike their patient's health care costs with additional prescriptions and clinician visits. The World Health Organization explains that when infections aren't cured with first-line antibiotics, more expensive medications may need to be used, increasing both the number of appointments and expense for the patient. When you have to re-treat a patient throughout several appointments, your operational efficiency drops and the patient's health care spend increases. Even worse, a longer duration of infection could lead to hospitalization. POCT's improved efficiency and productivity may also keep symptoms and conditions from escalating in both severity and duration.
As practitioners, you know the value of timely medical testing. For years, POCT has allowed for common bacterial and viral illnesses to be detected in mere minutes, rather than hours or days, and has permitted antiviral or antibiotic medications to be conveniently prescribed within the same visit. Quick results improve efficiency and add to peace of mind for both the patient and provider.
Henry Schein Medical understands a robust Point-of-Care testing strategy delivers many clinical and operational benefits. Explore our rapid testing and vaccination options or to learn more about gaining greater diagnostics control.
Given the demand for convenient care options, it is imperative your practice offers accurate and immediate test results. POCT is powered by innovative diagnostic tools that increase your practice's operational efficiency, improve patient outcomes with real-time results, and present opportunities for cost savings. For more information on POCT or to conduct an inventory of your lab, please schedule a consultation with our Point-of-Care team.