The demand for diagnostic tests is increasing with an aging population, the need to identify emerging infections, detect chemical and biological threats, establish the presence of chronic and infectious diseases, and evaluate the quality of treatment provided for conditions such as diabetes, cardiac failure and cancer. The development of new diagnostic products has made it possible to detect diseases early – when they can be best treated.
Critical shortages of trained personnel have led to the development of advanced clinical chemistry systems that provide fast and accurate results with minimal operator intervention. Rapid innovation has taken place in the range and complexity of diagnostic tests as well as in laboratory test methodologies and techniques. Developments in laboratory medicine have also made lab tests easier to perform and less prone to user error, leading to more accurate and prompt results, which in turn, have helped reinvent medical practice. The patient experience has also improved with new tests that are less invasive and easy to administer.
Notable trends in diagnostic test innovation include
- Detecting disease before symptoms appear
- Forecasting positive and adverse treatment effects
- Facilitating customized treatment regimens
- Enabling point-of-care testing and home testing
Clinical applications of chemistry analyzers include the tracking of medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes, cardiac markers, drugs of abuse, metabolic functions, hepatic function, and therapeutic drug monitoring. Modern clinical laboratory testing is also easier to perform with user-friendly, compact, standalone chemistry analyzers. The Stat Fax series of chemistry analyzers from Awareness Technologies Inc. are a good example of such systems. They feature a streamlined design with touch screen interface, superb optics, on-board curve-fitting software, and built-in printer to meet the requirements of modern laboratories. These versatile open systems can be used with multiple assays and are an economical solution to a wide range of chemistry testing.