Along with the increasing number of diseases and disorders, the field of medical science is also advancing at a greater pace. These advancements are used to diagnose and treat diseases efficiently. It was in the past, that patients had to travel to the hospital to diagnose. These gigantic diagnostic machines are now available in the form of simple, user-friendly diagnostic kits that patients can use on their own.
Point of Care Testing
shortly known as POC describes diagnostic tests that are performed rapidly when the person faces health issues. The most commonly known POC kits available today are the glucose monitoring kits and pregnancy kits. These kits are available throughout the globe, and people use them in their day to day lives.
Importance of POC testing
Point Of Care testing enables the patient to rapidly monitor their health condition. These devices are the first line diagnostic kits that the patient can use to understand their health condition. Not just for diabetes, but also to monitor parameters like blood thinner (eg; warfarin). This has enabled doctors to attend to and treat patients at a faster rate.
One advantage of POC testing is that the individual need not wait for the results. Conventional diagnostic labs perform tests, and the results are available after a week. This can be dangerous in case of serious diseases. By developing a POC and using them to diagnose, one can prevent the spread of diseases and also save patients, who are at the verge of death.
The third major advantage of POC is its ubiquity. Meaning, that it can be used even from the remote and rural villages and cities. It can also be used in cruise ships, airplanes or even in space. This is helpful for patients who are located in inaccessible areas. It is also very helpful in cases where there is a huge population of patients, eliminating the waiting time and avoiding chaos. In the case of floods and hurricanes, where there is a possibility of disease outbreak, these kits can be used to quicken the process. POCs don’t just reduce the waiting time; they help to isolate affected individuals, preventing the further outbreak of the disease.
If you think, these kits are just for the general public, then the answer is, NO! Surgeons use these kits in operation theatres too. For instance, if a patient is affected with stroke in the middle of a surgery, then the doctor has to check for Prothrombin time, before any further medication. This is mainly done to check the blood coagulation level.
These rapid detection kits have to be designed to diagnose specific diseases. Thus, for the diagnosis of a specific disease, a POC kit has to be exclusively designed. This is time-consuming. But there are POC kits available even for the deadliest diseases like Tuberculosis and HIV. POC kits for infectious diseases are designed now and then. During outbreaks of Dengue, Ebola, Zika viruses, these kits have been inevitable in diagnosing the infected patients.
In short, POCs help hasten the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The outbreak of COVID-19 in recent days has created a panic among people around the globe. POCs are also available to diagnose this. Using the patients' sputum or throat swab, the virus particles in it can be detected. This will help us isolate the infected individual to avoid further spread of the disease. In simple terms, Point of Care testing kits are user-friendly, quick diagnostic tools that help us contain infectious diseases. It is also used to monitor an individual’s health with ease and a much lower cost when compared with the conventional methods. If you are new to the POC testing and healthcare segment, check out MedApp, a comprehensive