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Self-diagnosis? What is the future for POCT?

The advantages of point of care testing (POCT) are rapid, accurate results using a portable device to examine a patient. Often results are “real time” allowing the early detection and intervention of diseases or health problems. The POCT market is growing rapidly as the requirement for quick clinical and self-monitoring tests grows.

Two main areas of POCT development are:

  1. Assay Methods include Biochemistry (Glucose), Immunoassay (Covid-19 antigen) and PCR (Infectious disease). For example, patients are able to test for COVID-19, at home, with the lateral flow antigen test kits.

  2. Detection Methods include Fluorescence, Colorimetric, Electric Sensor and Biosensor. For example, some patients use smart wearables to monitor heart rhythms.

Cameras are an important tool for POCT. Real time images can be shared with a doctor or specialist working remotely. Flexible cameras are already used in dentistry, to help reach otherwise inaccessible areas of a patient’s mouth. Cameras are also being used in people's homes for post-operative care and for diagnosing some skin cancers. Images captured on camera can help doctors analyze, evaluate and make educated decisions for their patients.

POCT is usually performed by clinical staff without laboratory training but may be carried out by patients who are self-monitoring. Self-monitoring has become more prevalent since POCT on smartphones and wearable devices has become available. Self-monitoring poses its own challenges with regard to sampling and testing, and if unsupervised by a physician could possibly lead to incomplete diagnosis.

The future is demanding more in-home testing, reduced visits to clinics, increased speed of diagnosis, and reduced costs. Already consumers can buy POCT devices, such as pregnancy tests or COVID-19 tests, at their local drugstore. In the future, patients will be able to carry out more self-diagnostic testing, (if necessary) under the supervision of their physician.

With its background in optics and light management, OMEC Medical is focusing on optimizing Detection Methods of POCT to improve the accuracy of diagnosis. Stay updated on the latest developments at OMEC Medical by:

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