Point-of-Care AnalyzersPoint-of-care testing (POCT) in many areas of clinical medicine facilitates quick results and thus faster implementation of treatment. Ideal to be used in the physician’s office, the home, an ambulance, in the hospital, and other settings, portable diagnostic point of care analyzers provide several benefits – rapid results, portability, convenience, sample quality and quality assurance. These point-of-care analyzers from leading manufacturers are used in many healthcare facilities to test glucose and cholesterol levels, perform electrolyte and enzyme analysis, and test for drugs of abuse, and infectious diseases. The various handheld POC analyzers include Abaxis Piccolo Xpress, Abbott i-STAT 1, Alere Triage® BNP Test and Bayer DCA 2000+.

Let us consider drugs of abuse screening. Medical screening for drugs of abuse is primarily focused on determining what drugs or combinations of drugs a person may have taken so that he can receive the proper treatment. In the Emergency Department, rapid detection of illicit drugs and their metabolites provides quick and essential information to the clinician. While a urine drug test takes time to provide results, point-of-care tests (POCT) help clinicians acquire the same drug screening information more rapidly at the patient’s bedside. Clinical decision-making is also improved with the drug screening result available in minutes, instead of over a half-hour.

Among the immunoassays available for drug testing are methods adapted for on-site (point of care) use and assays designed for automated analyzers. Many drugs of abuse immunoassays are based on CEDIA technology. For drug testing, analyzers are used with drugs of abuse testing reagents, calibrators and controls. Thermo Scientific’s CEDIA and DRI technologies are widely accepted as the leading methods for testing urine samples. The company’s drugs of abuse testing (DAT) solutions include:

According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the U.S. Drugs of Abuse POC/Point-of-Care Testing Market is expected to grow steadily in the coming years. As per the report, factors that are responsible for the shifting of diagnostic testing from hospitals and commercial laboratories closer to the patient are – the growing economic pressures on hospitals coupled with advances in diagnostic technologies, intensifying competition among suppliers and physicians, and changing consumer demands.