Omnia Health is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Convergence of point-of-care testing and digital health transform healthcare delivery

Article-Convergence of point-of-care testing and digital health transform healthcare delivery

patient tracking
Integration of AI and other powerful technologies into smartphone-based POCT devices will further accelerate the growth of this field and improve its applications.

In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, where precision and speed are paramount, two powerful forces are converging to reshape how we approach diagnostics and patient care: Point of Care Testing (POCT) and Digital Health. Consider the ability to conduct medical tests right at the patient's bedside, providing rapid results without the delays of sending samples to a distant laboratory. In addition to that, consider the transformative potential of digital health technologies, seamlessly integrating mobile applications, wearables, and remote monitoring devices into the healthcare equation. Digital health encompasses a wide range of applications, including telehealth, electronic medical records, health information systems, and mobile health (mHealth).  

The combination of POCT and digital health has the potential to transform healthcare delivery and is a rapidly evolving and growing field. Advancements in diagnostic systems such as microfluidic systems and biosensors, combined with the use of mobile communication and network technologies such as smartphones, are key enablers of mHealth. The widespread use of mobile devices has offered a novel approach to address many health-related challenges. In addition, digital health holds the power to enhance patient engagement and empowerment by providing them access to their own health information, granting them agency to communicate with their healthcare providers, and allowing them to easily track their own health journey.  

RelatedEnabling point-of-care diagnostics

A classic example that we see today is the use of wearable, minimally invasive, glucose monitoring devices in patients with diabetes, allowing them to monitor their blood glucose levels at home, and if needed adjust their insulin doses or lifestyle interventions. The use of such devices at the Imperial College London Diabetes Center (ICLDC) in the UAE has been shown to improve diabetes management, increase the patient’s time in range (TIR), and improve their health outcomes.  

In recent times, remote diabetes monitoring was achieved through the means of a smart wearable sensor system integrated into soft contact lenses to evaluate fluctuation in glucose levels.  

Another example is the use of mHealth applications for patients on oral anticoagulants such as Warfarin. Warfarin intake requires special care due to its narrow therapeutic window and its role in preventing and treating thromboembolic events. The use of this integrated system allows for continuous management and saves patients several clinic visits to adjust their dosage or INR targets which are associated with higher patient satisfaction rates. This system has already found success in Qatar, and I have every confidence that the rest of the GCC countries will soon adopt it. 

Utilising mHealth for testing viral and other infections holds paramount significance, especially in remote regions, as it aids in forecasting and mitigating the spread of infections. While the memories of its applications during the recent pandemic remain vivid, its scope extends to encompass a range of other infectious diseases, including the Zika and influenza viruses, Dengue fever, Ebola, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and malaria. 

RelatedPOCT has huge potential for growth in the Middle East

Smartphone-based multiplexed biosensing can provide ‘next generation continuous metabolites sensing’ allowing real-time patient monitoring for various metabolites such as glucose, lactate, and electrolytes. Shifted values in these metabolic biomarkers can indicate acute fluctuations in a patient’s condition.  

The integration of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other powerful technologies into smartphone-based POCT devices will substantially accelerate the growth of this field and improve its applications. Having said that, many challenges need to be addressed to ensure successful integration between POCT and digital health, for example, data security and protection, governance and infrastructure, regulations, and legislations, engineering efficacy, cost, and commercialisation and scaling.   

With healthcare emphasis shifting toward precision medicine, population health, and chronic disease management, the potential impact of POCT continues to grow. Advancements in POCT technologies including wearables, noninvasive testing, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance, paper-based diagnostics, nanopore-based devices, and digital microfluidics will help in diversifying the offerings of this rapidly expanding field.  

Overall, the integration of POCT and digital health has the capacity to improve healthcare accessibility, efficiency, and outcomes, leading to more a patient-centred and effective healthcare system.  

Appropriate strategies and careful executions are key to the successful implantation of such solutions to enable faster and more efficient diagnoses and treatment decisions. In doing so, we can significantly reduce the necessity for patients to visit healthcare facilities, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes and greater engagement. 

Dr. Laila AbdelWareth, MBBCh, FCAP, FRCPC, EMHCA is the Executive Director at the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Chair of Clinical Pathology at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD), Adjunct Clinical Professor at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences in Khalifa University, and the President of the Emirates Clinical Chemistry Society at the Emirates Medical Association. She will be present her topic, “Point of Care Testing and Digital Health” under the Future of Clinical Lab at Global Health Exhibition on October 30. 



Much more awaits at the Global Health Exhibition in Riyadh this year. Register now to learn, network, and lead your business and practice into a revolutionary healthcare market. 
This article appears in the latest issue of the Omnia Health Magazine, read more here
Back to Technology
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.