European point-of-care testing market boosted by clinical and cost
19 Sept 2006
London, UK. Point-of-care testing (POCT) offers multiple benefits,
particularly in improving turnabout time (TAT) and in supporting the
prescription of earlier and more appropriate treatment. Moreover, POCT fits
in with the way healthcare delivery is likely to evolve — one that promotes
enhanced quality of care and encourages patients to be more involved in
their own disease management.
Frost & Sullivan has found that the European Point of Care Testing Market
earned revenues of US$754.4 million in 2005 and estimates this will reach
US$1558.2 million in 2012.
"POCT can better satisfy customer needs with the introduction of new
diagnostics," says Frost & Sullivan Team Leader of Clinical Diagnostics, Dr.
Fiona Rahman. "These diagnostics boost patients' confidence through the way
in which problems are handled with on-the-spot testing being used to not
only diagnose and monitor diseases, but also to implement programmes
designed to prevent the onset of a disease."
The growing use of POCT will support accelerated results and faster
diagnosis, thereby enabling treatment for many conditions to begin more
rapidly. It will, moreover, lessen the strain on resources in secondary
care, resulting in reduced outpatient clinic time, which benefits both the
"Governments throughout Europe are seeking to provide more alternatives
to centralised testing, while encouraging the devolution of control to
primary care and placing greater emphasis on the prediction and prevention
of disease," says Dr. Rahman. "The significance of these factors for the
diagnostics industry, providers and suppliers, is that POCT is expected to
increase in the number of tests conducted, the array of analytes and
available locations for testing in the coming years."
However, it is inevitable that there will be concerns about higher costs,
as tests designed for use in POC will be more expensive than
laboratory-based ones. Health services need to overcome these cost issues
through a more holistic approach that identifies the potential long-term
savings to be made. These will include reducing the costs associated with
unwanted or inappropriate therapy, sample transport to hospital
laboratories, patient transport to the hospital, unnecessary occupation of a
bed, the extra costs of out-of-hours services and unnecessary appointments.
"Senior physicians are sceptical about implementing these new
technologies and continue to use ineffective traditional methods of
diagnoses, which are cheaper without validation and scientific support,"
explains Dr. Rahman. "With these end-users reluctant to experiment with POC
tests, which are essential to complement more traditional diagnostic
methods, the challenge for manufacturers will be to offer cost-effective POC
tests that will encourage end users to experiment and adopt POC tests as
Over the next decade, the healthcare sector will significantly increase
in importance as physicians take on greater responsibility for early
diagnostic triage, disease management and preventative medicine.
"The aim will be to make POCT available to everyone and increase its
adoption by the medical community," says Dr. Rahman. "By identifying the key
tasks and opportunities and by promoting educational programmes that
encourage diagnosis and close monitoring of diagnosed patients as well as
undiagnosed sufferers, the immense potential of the European POCT
diagnostics market can be leveraged."