Existing and Emerging Technologies for Point-of-Care Testing

Clin Biochem Rev. 2014 Aug;35(3):155-67.


The volume of point-of-care testing (PoCT) has steadily increased over the 40 or so years since its widespread introduction. That growth is likely to continue, driven by changes in healthcare delivery which are aimed at delivering less costly care closer to the patient's home. In the developing world there is the challenge of more effective care for infectious diseases and PoCT may play a much greater role here in the future. PoCT technologies can be split into two categories, but in both, testing is generally performed by technologies first devised more than two decades ago. These technologies have undoubtedly been refined and improved to deliver easier-to-use devices with incremental improvements in analytical performance. Of the two major categories the first is small handheld devices, providing qualitative or quantitative determination of an increasing range of analytes. The dominant technologies here are glucose biosensor strips and lateral flow strips using immobilised antibodies to determine a range of parameters including cardiac markers and infectious pathogens. The second category of devices are larger, often bench-top devices which are essentially laboratory instruments which have been reduced in both size and complexity. These include critical care analysers and, more recently, small haematology and immunology analysers. New emerging devices include those that are utilising molecular techniques such as PCR to provide infectious disease testing in a sufficiently small device to be used at the point of care. This area is likely to grow with many devices being developed and likely to reach the commercial market in the next few years.

Publication types

  • Review