The global Point-of-Care Diagnostics Market is projected to reach USD 38.13 Billion by 2022 from USD 23.71 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 10.0% during the forecast period.
Healthcare decentralization —Converting lab tests to POC tests
Healthcare decentralization involves the transfer of authority and responsibility from a central health ministry to the ministry at various levels, such as regional, provincial, and/or local. Decentralization aims to increase the efficiency of treatment and citizen participation as well as improve access to healthcare services at a regional level. Other key benefits of decentralization include improved allocative efficiency (as local decision-makers have better access to local information) and better cost-efficiency due to improved cost-consciousness at the local level.
The US healthcare system is already decentralized, and several European countries are also focusing on the decentralization of their respective healthcare systems. Furthermore, many countries have begun to decentralize HIV treatment to primary healthcare centers with an aim to decrease the burden of HIV services (Source: The U.S. Agency for International Development and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). Likewise, the decentralization of cancer care in developing countries is enabling the accurate and timely evaluation of patient needs.
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For instance, in May 2017, the Albino Foundation (Nigeria) decentralized its free cancer treatment to six geopolitical zones to enable its members to have access to the necessary treatments. Similarly, in July 2014, the Health and Family Welfare Minister of Bangladesh initiated the decentralization of cancer treatment to facilitate the treatment of district-level cancer patients. Moreover, with the aim to strengthen the delivery of healthcare in rural areas, the Government of India launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005, which aims to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure at local and district levels in the country.
The rising level of healthcare decentralization in several countries will empower doctors and patients to use POC devices rather than opt for time-consuming central lab methods for the diagnosis of various diseases. This is considered as a major growth opportunity in the Point-of-Care Diagnostics market.
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Disadvantages of POC testing over central lab methods
There are certain disadvantages associated with POC testing over central lab methods. These include:
- No cell-related analysis beyond basic diagnostic testing is possible through POC testing.
- POC testing does not provide accurate results if proper analytical procedures are not carried out. Also, the quality of results often depends on the sample quality. As a result, poor sample collection can result in incorrect results.
- POC testing devices are not able to detect lipemic, hemolyzed, and icteric samples.
- The cost per test in POC testing is higher than the tests performed on a central laboratory platform
As a result of these disadvantages, POC testing is largely restricted to automatically measurable parameters, and cannot completely replace central laboratory methods. This serves as a key challenge for the players operating in the point-of-care diagnostics market.
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