Quick “Point-of-Care” (POC) Medical Testing Is On the Rise

September 15, 2010

Ever wait anxiously for days to get the results of medical tests?  Such periods may eventually become passe as new methods for analyzing blood and other tests increasingly allow quick turnaround times in doctors offices, “rapid clinics,” and even in patients’ homes.

According to a new review of the global “point of care” testing industry released today by Scientia Advisors, a Cambridge, San Francisco strategy consulting firm (yes, my client!)–the market for point-of -care medical tests (those analyzed in close proximity to patients)–is growing at 8 per cent–and even faster for certain types of tests and in the developing world.

Harry Glorikian, Scientia’s managing partner, points out that this growth is fueled in part by a trend toward decentralization of health care—in which testing and treatment are migrating from hospital labs to settings such as emergency rooms, outpatient, doctor’s offices, rapid and urgent care clinics, and homes.

But, he points out,  “companies bringing point-of-care (POC) tests to market must consider not only accuracy, reliability and ease of use, but also the challenges of gaining clinical acceptance and meeting sometimes-onerous regulatory and reimbursement requirements.”

Based on primary and secondary research and proprietary analysis, Scientia projects that the POC testing market, which includes professional and over-the-counter segments, will experience compound annual growth of 8%, from $11.6B in 2008 to $18.4B through 2013 —with additional potential for growth in emerging economies.

While diabetes is the largest segment of the POC testing market, infectious disease testing, a smaller segment, has high growth potential due to (1) increasing awareness of public health problems such as flu, chlamydia and hospital-acquired infections (2) potential availability of disruptive, point-of-care molecular diagnostics and (3) increased adoption of POC testing in emerging markets.

Scientia also found that:

  • While the US is a major influencer in the global POC testing market, the developing world will experience the fastest growth—especially in China and India, where the governments plan to open thousands of rural clinics.
  • In the current economic slowdown, US retail giants such as CVS and Wal-Mart have closed many rapid clinics. As a result, rapid clinics may need new strategies, such as partnering with hospitals, to remain viable.
  • Next-generation, portable, easy-to-use technologies, which promise greater accuracy, convenience and clinical impact, will fuel the growth of many POC segments.
  • Stringent regulatory and reimbursement requirements and a need for pharmaco-economic studies remain barriers to widespread POC adoption in the US and abroad.

Scientia’s review, “The Point-of-Care Diagnostics Market: Growth Drivers and Challenges to Widespread Adoption”, is available for download at no cost at www.scientiaadv.com.

—Anita M. Harris

Harriscom blog is a publication of the  Harris Communications Group is a marketing communications and public relations firm located in Boston, MA.


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5 Responses to “Quick “Point-of-Care” (POC) Medical Testing Is On the Rise”

  1. Byron diggs md Says:

    Problems: no doctor worth his her salt would rely upon “decentralized” testing results; they will need to be repeated. Raising further the cost of health care. Most r familiar w/ wide range of results frm diff labs a byproduct of diff procedures and chical reagents used in the “simple” blood test. Considering Chinese goverrmts record in safety/contamination of variety of prducts(milk. Toys etc) and persistence. Despite the goverrmmts reassurance that the issues have been resolved, I would be very very very reluctant to utilize such products in any of my practices .

    Thank you

  2. anharris Says:

    Byron–thanks for writing. You’re not alone; regulatory and reimbursement issues remain barriers to widespread adoption. Scientia found that health care profession in Europe is especially wary. Anita

  3. anharris Says:

    This comment from Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, athttp://www.healthpopuli.com: A growing cadre of engaged, empowered patients want to ‘know their numbers,’ and this includes results from genetic tests. This is part of the emerging retail model of health care. As employers and plan sponsors allocate more financial and clinical responsible for health onto enrollees, people are morphing into health consumers. Those who embrace this demand tools like point-of-care testing. Providers and regulators need to respond to patients who are moving in this direction: it will benefit all stakeholders for patients-people to play a greater role in their own health care.


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