Most experts agree that advances in point-of-care testing (POCT) are the next wave of disruption in our field. Developments in this area will allow for expanded delivery of healthcare to resource-poor settings, enhanced tools for monitoring chronic diseases, as well as routine health monitoring for the health conscious or fitness-minded consumer.
This afternoon’s session “Racing Against Time: Point of Care testing in Mobile Health settings,” will feature three experts who will delve into the role of POCT in improving healthcare delivery. The speakers will share success stories about what has worked well so far in the field, while also highlighting current limitations and the work that remains to ensure that POCT is effective and affordable.
In the last two decades, health system consolidations have favored a more centralized testing approach. However, centralized laboratory testing is limited in its ability to reach patient populations in resource-poor settings or populations with mobility restrictions. Anna Fuezery, PhD, will explore in the session how tools such as mobile communications and miniaturized diagnostic instruments have the potential to allow for a more decentralized approach.
Andrew Sargeant, BSc, will share his experiences in implementing POCT to support Australian paramedic and home health services. He will describe how POCT systems that enable healthcare sysems to divert patients to general practitioners or manage their conditions in their own homes could reduce hospital overcrowding.
The goal of his organiziation is to use POCT to safely manage patients outside of fixed locations to improve service delivery and reduce the burden on large facilities. This could include services in ambulances or in the home for both diagnosis and screening.
Ping Wang, PhD, also will tackle the growth trajectory of POCT, including telemedicine. For example, for patients who cannot or may not be willing to go to the hospital, some institutions now offer online consultations. The clinical laboratory will need to find ways to support these programs.
With more than 40% of the total U.S. population affected by chronic diseases, frequent monitoring with POCT can detect disease recurrence and possibly prevent acute episodes that result in emergency department admissions. Already, technology companies such as Apple are focused on healthcare. For example, Apple has developed an electrocardiogram feature to detect atrial fibrillation on the Apple Watch. It is estimated that more than 10% of the U.S. population owns a smart watch, with older Americans being the fastest growing segment adopting wearable devices.
Wang will note that such innovative technology, while sure to grow, will require the experience and expertise of clinical laboratorians to ensure safety and efficacy. The lack of standardization and accuracy in miniaturized devices remains an issue.
If you want to learn more about the ever-expanding role of POCT and its potential applications, then this afternoon’s session on mobile health is the place to be.
After this session, do not miss the opportunity to get a sneak peek at up and coming technologies at AACC’s 2nd annual Disruptive Technology Competition.