Point of care testing: Disruptive innovation – is the NHS ready for it yet?

Elisabeth AdamsOur Managing Director, Elisabeth Adams, spoke in November about the importance of exploring the health economics of point of care testing (POCT) at the Royal Society of Medicine Telemedicine and eHealth event in London. The video of her presentation is now online – view the full talk here.

Why is it important to explore the health economics of point of care testing (POCT)?

Evaluating the health economics of POCTs can help us better understand the cost, benefits and value of implementing these tests, compared to standard laboratory tests. We need to explore the acquisition costs of innovative technology like POCTs compared to standard tests, as well as the benefits generated for patients, service providers, clinicians and public health in general. Benefits can include faster results, better care, fewer complications, more efficient services and better use of resources, and knock-on benefits like reduced prevalence of disease. Those making purchasing decisions for new tests need evidence to prove the value of the tests.

What do the results of economic analyses of POCTs tell us?

Understanding the value of POCTs, beyond the acquisition cost of the test, will help clinicians, service managers, and commissioners understand the impact of introducing POCTs. Using health economic modelling, we can better understand the difficult-to-measure benefits and costs of POCTs such as reduced transmission, complications, and overtreatment.  The health economic analysis can be used to develop business case evidence and contribute to discussions more widely such as national guidelines.

When is the right time to conduct analyses?

Health economic analysis may be conducted during basic research, preclinical development, clinical trials, approval process, implementation, or even once a product is launched and on the market.

How do we conduct economic analyses on POCTs?

We can build evidence through expert opinion interviews, developing models to demonstrate the potential benefits, and running pilot evaluations or randomised controlled trials. We visualise and cost the patient pathway to evaluate how implementing a POCT would change compared to current care.  Theoretical models can demonstrate unmet need where none perceived, improved care through new technology, and support the exploration and launch of new patient care opportunities.

What are the challenges of economic analysis?

Current practice may not match the best practice guidelines, and there may be large differences among current practice,  or gaps in available data. However, theoretical models can still help people make more informed decisions in the absence of other data.

Aquarius Population Health is experienced in evaluating the health economics of point of care testing for screening, diagnosis and monitoring across many diseases areas in acute and primary care.  We conduct quantitative and qualitative evaluations including pathway mapping, modelling, cost analyses, service audits, and intervention audits for commercial companies, universities, and healthcare providers. Please contact us to learn more about how we can work with you build evidence for your point of care test.