Increased Interest in Point of Care Testing: What’s Changed?
The primary driver of point of care testing is the need for real time actionable results, thereby facilitating linkage to care. Convenience, while important, is seldom a sufficient market or revenue driver on its own.
Linkage to care, as evidenced by improvements in medical, health and economic impact drives the primary need for point of care testing.
Recent advancements in testing technologies are energizing the development of viable new Point of Care Testing (POCT) options. Highly complex molecular assays can now be performed in under two hours with turnaround times soon to fall well below an hour. However, if test results are not available during the typical patient encounter, providing the treating physician with all of the information needed to inform a treatment decision, the results may not be actionable and the need for point of care testing can be questioned. Further, since direct costs of POCT invariably exceed equivalent testing offered through centralized laboratories, the economic rationale for the payer to adopt it can be elusive. Finally, because the very term POCT evokes varying definitions and expectations from practitioners around the world, the true drivers of this rapidly emerging market segment have been difficult to properly define.
A viable POCT solution does not require delivery of any additional clinical information other than what is available at the time of the patient encounter, providing a Point of Impact (POI) solution, not just a near patient testing opportunity.
When determining whether a POC or POI solution may be viable, the developer must consider the practice of medicine supporting the patient encounter and treatment decision. If additional tests or follow up appointments are required, then delivery of an isolated POC / POI result may be unwarranted. Further, if standard of care favors send-out testing algorithms, the developer will face a significant challenge educating physicians and payers and changing the practice of medicine. Understanding POCT market opportunities, including potential applications of new technologies, expanded applications for existing technologies, and special challenges around market and end-user scenarios requires deep insight into current medical practices. The drive toward decentralization of primary care services in many markets around the world is a common theme. In fact, with as many as 30 million Americans due to enter the health system under the Affordable Care Act, payers and hospitals are taking notice and desperately seeking new care paradigms. As a result, POC / POI solutions for the developing world are likely to soon find application in the U.S. market, too.
Halteres Associates has a deep understanding of the clinical and market needs in Point of Care settings and can help clients leverage their development resources to produce valued products in these settings, wherever they exist in developing or developed country markets.
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