The market for point-of-care testing is estimated to grow 9.8% between 2016 and 2021. There are a number of reasons for this trend.
Point-of-care testing is useful as medical care shifts to a focus on prevention, early detection, and managing chronic conditions. Point-of-care tests provide results in real time, rather than in hours or days, so they can help you and your providers make faster, and hopefully better, decisions about your medical care. With results in hand during your consultation, you can receive immediate follow-up testing or treatments without returning for another office visit. For example, if you are diabetic and have a point-of-care test for HbA1c , your healthcare professional can immediately work with you to modify your treatment plan if the result is outside your target value. . At home, glucose meters allow people with diabetes to tailor their insulin therapy. Such glucose testing makes up the largest segment of the point-of-care testing market.
Another example is the use of point of care testing to measure prothrombin time/INR in an outpatients clinic, to determine whether a change in a patients warfarin dose is required.
There is also a growing need for rapid screening for infectious diseases such as HIV, dengue fever, malaria, and influenza. Infectious disease tests are useful in community clinics and remote or resource-limited areas where there may not be access to a central laboratory or where infrastructure is limited for transporting samples. Infectious disease tests at the point of care can also lead to prompter treatment, which can prevent infections from spreading.
When used as part of a larger healthcare strategy, point-of-care testing can make diagnosis and treatment a smoother and more efficient process. Point-of-care tests are most beneficial when they are viewed as one step in a testing continuum that may begin at the point-of-care, but eventually leads to coordinated testing with a central laboratory.