Point of care medical devices can help reduce patient care costs, provide rapid test results, and improve the overall quality of patient care. They provide new avenues for managing an increasing patient load and can help many facilities manage their resources more effectively. Innovation in the world of point of care devices uses emerging technology to help expand services and meet new challenges.
Expanded Community-Based Services
The ecosystem of the healthcare system is changing rapidly due to an increase in the number of point of care medical devices that are becoming available. Point of care testing helps the medical profession deliver higher-quality care and reduce costs associated with traditional testing methods and unnecessary interventions. These devices give them rapid results, which can be critical in certain situations, such as in the emergency room.
Point of care testing uses wearable devices, at-home testing solutions, and medical devices that allow monitoring and treatment to take place at a location other than a medical facility. The physician can receive data from the device or a rapid test result and be able to deliver advice via phone or messaging rather than needing to see the patient in person. A growing number of these devices will help to improve the reliability and delivery of telehealth services.
Technology and AI-Based Systems
The global pandemic led to the rapid development and deployment of point of care testing to manage community-level decision-making. They allowed people to test at home rather than having to utilize an already-overcrowded medical system. This demonstrated what was possible when it came to managing community health using point of care testing. Now, developers hope to expand the horizon for what is possible with point of care medical devices.
One of the new areas of development is the integration of cameras into these devices. This allows physicians to perform tests on-site, which can help facilitate early diagnoses and more rapid treatment of serious conditions. New developments allow clinicians to analyze samples and obtain imaging without the need to schedule the patient for outside testing. One of the more recent devices is used in urology. It integrates sample analysis and imaging that allows the technician to zoom in on the specimen without resorting to traditional microscopy methods. These technologies are also making their way rapidly into the fields of ophthalmology and dentistry.
AI-based technology is breaking new ground with the ability to gather and analyze data more quickly and reliably. These point of care devices can collect the data and send it anywhere in the world, which allows collaboration on a level never before experienced. These devices can tap into a database and assist in diagnosis that gives more immediate and accurate results than only relying on the knowledge base of the clinician.
They can also quickly scan a patient’s medical record and look for conflicts. A growing number of devices have connectivity built-in, which allows the transmission of data and images over a secure network. It allows greater collaboration among specialists in different locations. This can help avoid drug interactions or unwanted complications from treatment. It is expected that AI will become an increasingly important part of patient care in the future.
One of the key challenges in the development of point of care devices involves sustainability issues. Many of the current single-use, disposable devices are made from fossil fuels and contribute to the waste management problem. The next step in the development of these products will be to find alternatives to non-renewable resources and the development of biodegradable devices. Thus far, sustainability issues have been excluded from design requirements for these devices, but this is something that could be introduced in the future. Such requirements would make the development of these devices even more challenging.
Future developments in point of care devices are expected to focus on providing more efficient community-based care and the ability to monitor patients remotely. AI will provide the backbone for accurate, quick diagnosis and treatment plan development. As single-use diagnostic devices become more prevalent, preventing harm to the environment will become an important issue in the development of new devices. The best news is that point of care devices have the ability to help meet the growing demands and pressures the current system is under.