Some POCT devices have been used in the hospital environment, general practitioner (GP) surgeries and even in home settings (for example, urine and glucose dipsticks and meters) for many years. More recently, the range of analysers and tests available has expanded considerably, and the technology has become easier to use and more robust.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (drugdiscovery.frost.com), European Point of Care Testing Market, finds that the market was worth $1.30 billion in 2009 and estimates this to reach $2.70 billion in 2016. The research covers the POCT market in Western Europe pertaining to bench-top and handheld analysers that are currently in use for point of care testing in clinical settings. The key segments that are considered include cardiac, diabetes, infectious diseases, blood gas and electrolytes, fertility, coagulation and haematology.
It is now possible to provide a rapid test result in a timely manner in the immediate vicinity of the patient such as in the Emergency Department (ED) or the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The rapidity of obtaining a result can increase clinical effectiveness and contribute to improved outcomes for patients. However, it is imperative that the result provided by the device is accurate and reliable. The improved reliability and range of POCT devices are resulting in their increasing use in community clinics, GP surgeries and the home environment.
"The most significant advantage of POCT is the fact that it produces results within a short duration ranging from seconds to minutes," notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Rasika Ramachandran. "This is important in some critical situations such as in the emergency department when the patient is in a critical state."
Rapid return of results aids the clinician in making crucial treatment decisions on the spot. In contrast, conventional lab testing often takes a long time and can delay the treatment of a patient, causing unnecessary expenditures in terms of hospital stays and avoidable agony to the patient.
"POCT eliminates the need to transport a specimen to a remote laboratory and prevents errors related to transfer of data and transcription," states Ramachandran. "These tests enable the provision of emergency results and simplify the logistics of frequent monitoring."
Hand-held systems can undertake a single assay or a panel of simultaneous tests to offer better-quality patient care, better operational efficiency and increased cost-effectiveness.
The European point of care market is currently growing at double-digit growth rates, which is significant especially as it comes from an already high base. This growth rate is projected to increase as more European governments widen adoption of POCT, making it more mainstream.
The implementation and management of programmes for POCT can be difficult because these require input and coordination with many different healthcare professionals. Additionally, POCT must compete with established testing methods and resource availability, as resources are already allocated to labs.
"In the hospital environment, the development and use of POC programmes can require input from various stakeholders such as primary caregivers, POC managers, clinical laboratory personnel and, sometimes, the hospital administration as well," explains Ramachandran. "Therefore, the appropriate stakeholders need to be convinced of the value of integrating POCT methods over established programmes."
This is expected to be a key challenge in this market until POCT programmes are streamlined to work seamlessly with existing testing methods and protocols. All the stakeholders will need to make a concerted effort to implement a POCT programme. This trend will gain more momentum as the benefits of this testing modality become progressively more apparent.
The UK Government is making significant progress in streamlining the process of implementing POCT programmes. It will not be long before other European governments take their cue and attempt to emulate this pioneering effort.
If you are interested in more information on Frost & Sullivan's latest research on the European Point of Care Testing Market, please send an email to Katja Feick, Corporate Communications, at katja.feick[.]frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country.
European Point of Care Testing Market is part of the Drug Discovery Technologies Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research on the following markets: European Tissue Diagnostics Markets and European Diabetes Diagnostics Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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