Point-of-Care Testing (POCT)

The need for doctors and other healthcare workers continues to increase with the increasing prevalence of ageing and chronic diseases in the general population. On the other hand, there is a shortage of physicians resulting from an insufficient number of graduating doctors and attrition. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be a shortage of more than 90,000 doctors in the United States alone by 2020. This creates an opportunity for the use of point-of-care testing (POCT) to alleviate some of the strain caused by physician shortage.

POCT is defined by 4 criteria:

Specimens are assayed at or near the patient.

Test results will be available within a short time frame.

Immediate diagnosis and/or clinical interventions can be implemented.

Results can be transmitted wirelessly and remotely to electronic health databases for further analyses.

The medical advantages of POCT can be significant. More frequent decentralized testing, reduction in clinical laboratory test numbers thereby decreasing wait times; higher standard of care for patients in rural areas where medical centers are distant; and greater patient engagement, are some examples.