With the diversity and availability of POCT continuing to rise, a new generation of tests is breaking down the barriers between laboratories and patients.
Diagnostics tests that can be carried out next to the patient which provide immediate results have obvious benefits. This approach has been used for many years, blood cholesterol and blood glucose tests have helped manage heart disease and diabetes. Prothrombin time and activated clotting time tests have been used to control the use of anticoagulation agents which provide protection against the occurrence of stroke and thrombosis. Recent information points to the continued rise in use of this approach and the wider scope of tests available.
At the recent IBMS Congress held at the ICC in Birmingham there was whole day of the programme dedicated to the subject with nine sessions covered. A recent report lists 27 different areas covered within the point of care sector and predicts the market to be worth £34bn by 2026 with a predicted 8.4% annual growth rate for the sector.
Paul Bates Sales Manager at Hart Biologicals said “Traditionally point of care tests have been based around chemistry tests however we are seeing more haematology and microbiology tests being incorporated on POCT menus. In the early days POCT was designed and based around what could be replicated on a smaller platform from that used in a laboratory, with acceptable levels of precision and accuracy.
“However recent developments have seen the rise of multidisciplinary platforms which provide an array of chemistry, haematology and microbiology tests on one platform, making the POCT service a stand-alone discipline in its own-right. This presents challenges for training and quality however accreditation bodies such as UKAS are now recognising the challenge by providing a collaborative and adaptable approach as an extension to the lab accreditation process”
At the Congress it was announced that in 2020 a new IBMS POCT qualification would be available aimed at providing new and aspiring POCT staff with official recognition of the acquired skills needed to run a service.
Paul went on to say “Having more people qualified in this specialised discipline engaging with patients and bringing testing services to them will inspire confidence in this growing sector. No longer will the lab be seen as the ‘font of all knowledge’ when it comes to information needed to manage the welfare of patients and perhaps provide a reduction in the cost of delivering services like the NHS Health Check programme compared to the traditional laboratory-led pathway with results available in one sitting”.
Hart Biologicals offers a complete inexpensive testing solution for use by anticoagulation clinics involved in the management of patients using Prothrombin Time/INR measurements.