In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Jürgen Neumann from LRE Medical talks about the possible applications of point-of-care test devices and explains how they could evolve in the future and might find their way into medical practices.
Mr. Neumann, how important are point-of-care diagnostic devices in the emergency department?
Jürgen Neumann: Their importance keeps growing. Point-of-care (POC) refers to medical diagnostic testing at or near the patient. An emergency physician obviously does not have access to a big laboratory on-site like he would at a hospital. POC testing in this setting provides faster results than a laboratory analysis. It offers benefits that extend beyond the clinical aspect and include organizational and ultimately economic advantages, because it allows the physician to respond immediately to patient conditions.
In which situations are POC diagnostic devices used?
Neumann: They are beneficial in situations in which accurate and rapid results are needed to facilitate faster and more efficient processes to provide quality patient care. This currently includes identifying patients with a suspected heart attack or performing a blood gas analysis. Some modern tools can deliver results in less than fifteen minutes, whereas hospital laboratories have turnaround times of three to four hours. Armed with this knowledge, the emergency physician can start the initial treatment much sooner.
What is important when it comes to POC test development?
Neumann: In emergency care settings, devices must be robust, user-friendly, and intuitive and provide reliable, accurate and clearly displayed results, which offer rapid safety and security.
Complex biochemical processes take place inside the device as is the case when you test for infectious diseases such as hepatitis or COVID-19. The patient sample must be processed accurately to ensure a reliable analysis: mixing the sample with a reagent, heating and cooling of the reaction liquid, optical read out, processing and displaying via software. All this must be done safely and accurately in the short, allotted time. It also makes the design of these solutions very complex.
This is precisely the talent and expertise we offer our customers: we incorporate all these technical facets to make the smallest possible device that provides the most accurate test results. Today everyone would give anything to have a PCR test in their pocket. The technology is coming, but it is not quite there yet.