​Revolutionizing Healthcare: The Introduction of Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) In AKUH​​

Shuja Ahm​​ad, Senior POCT Coordinator

Department of Chemical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine​​​​​

Traditionally, diagnostic tests have been centralized in clinical laboratories, requiring patients to wait for extended periods to receive their results. However, with POCT, the diagnostic process is streamlined, enabling healthcare professionals to perform tests on-site and obtain results within minutes. This immediate feedback not only expedites the diagnostic journey but also empowers healthcare providers to make timely decisions, leading to more efficient and personalized patient care.

In 2013, the introduction of Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) at The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) marked a significant milestone. Since joining the POCT team in 2014, I have witnessed remarkable growth and evolution in our approach. Initially, we operated with a concise test menu and approximately 63 instruments across 20 POCT sites. However, our journey has led to substantial expansion.

Our extended test menu encompasses a diverse range of diagnostic capabilities, incorporating tests for blood glucose, blood gases, lactic acid, urine dipstick, and electrolytes. This expanded repertoire has positioned us at the forefront of advanced diagnostics within the AKUH network, with a presence of 130 POCT devices in 32 sites, including all AKUH secondary care hospitals. In the future POCT services will be available in outpatient clinics and medical centers. 

​​​The progression from a limited test menu to a comprehensive array of diagnostic options underscores the commitment of the POCT team to enhancing healthcare delivery. Through strategic expansion and technological advancements, we continue to play a pivotal role in bringing efficient and accessible diagnostic services to the forefront of patient care across the AKUH network.

​​The future of Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) in healthcare holds significant promise, featuring advancements such as developing more sophisticated devices with improved accuracy. Anticipated key developments include the expansion of the test menu to cover a wider range of medical conditions. Integration with digital health platforms is expected to enhance real-time data sharing and improve patient management.

​POCT's growing role in remote monitoring and telemedicine can potentially increase healthcare access, especially in remote areas. AI integration is promising for advanced analysis of POCT results, aiding in diagnosis and personalized treatment plans.

​The potential prevalence of home testing kits empowers individuals in self-monitoring health parameters. ​​​Globally, POCT's impact in resource-limited ​settings may lead to early disease detection and improved outcomes. Ongoing regulatory advances, ​such as stricter quality control measures, aim to promote widespread acceptance and adoption of POCT technologies, ultimately promising a more personalized, efficient, and accessible healthcare landscape.