The high cost of point-of-care testing (POCT) services is one of the biggest impediments to its greater use and adoption in less fortunate countries, said Prof. Khosrow Adeli, Division Head, Clinical Biochemistry, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada.
“The cost of POCT is a major concern. POCT tends to be more expensive than tests conducted in laboratories, which poses a challenge to greater adoption in less fortunate countries. But I think many countries are developing their own point-of-care systems. There is growth in the In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) industry. Systems become more affordable when they are produced locally,” said Prof. Adeli at the sidelines of his session on ‘POCT in paediatrics: An inherently ideal tool in patient management’ on the second day of Medlab Middle East Congress 2023 in Dubai on February 7.
Over the past decades, diagnostic testing has steadily moved out of the central laboratory into testing sites closer to patients. The ease of use of POCT for a number of medical conditions has facilitated greater disease diagnosis and allowed better monitoring and management.
POCT is available for pregnancy testing, blood glucose, HIV, haemoglobin concentrations, complete blood count, cardiac biomarkers, and numerous additional applications.
Thousands of new POCT devices are introduced each year and the industry has been growing at 7 per cent annually.
“I think there is a huge potential for growth of this industry in the Middle East. Before the pandemic, the global market for POCT was growing at 7 per cent per year, but in the last couple of years, the market has expanded significantly. The surge in popularity isn’t just for testing COVID-19 but for a host of other medical conditions too. There is a significant need for POCT in acute care hospitals, primary care and rural and remote areas that do not have access to hospitals or laboratories. The sector will continue to register robust growth in the region,” noted Prof. Adeli.
Households and healthcare workers have increasingly adopted advanced testing technologies and care strategies. This approach provides rapid, highly sensitive and low-cost testing, in addition to improving diagnostic, therapeutic, and monitoring practices, thus, increasing patient satisfaction.
Talking about the clinical utility of POCT in paediatric healthcare settings, Prof. Adeli added: “Access and use of PCOT can have a significant impact on a child’s health. Take, for instance, diarrhoea. It is a major killer of infants. If parents can do a quick test and see that the electrolyte levels in the child are suddenly dropping, they can give the child fluids, which could prevent the health from getting worse.”
POCT is playing a crucial role in emergency medicine, critical care, and at-home monitoring. According to Global Market Insights, the market size of the POCT industry is more than US$34.6 billion and it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.9 per cent between 2022 and 2030.
Visit Medlab Middle East 2023 to attend thought-provoking sessions led by industry experts from across the globe.