From remote regions around the world to the clinic around the corner, when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, every moment counts.
Explore the map for real-life stories* of how POCT improves access to healthcare
Battling Superbugs with Rapid Diagnostics in Spain.
High cholesterol: The road to early detection runs through Rio
Taking early HIV diagnosis to the molecular level.
Can this van drive down diabetes?
HIV in Indonesia: turning the tide with better healthcare access
* Some names and locations have been changed, to protect the privacy of individuals and institutions featured.
Unnecessary prescriptions are producing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Find out if access to point-of-care testing can change the picture.
It reads like a sci-fi horror story: a deadly new strain of microbe evolves, impervious to all medicines, and threatens to decimate the human race. Here’s the shocking twist: The danger is real. Worse yet, we humans have helped bring it on ourselves, mostly through rampant overuse of antibiotics.2
In response to the crisis, the World Health Organization has called on healthcare professionals to resist prescribing antibiotics unless they’re truly needed.3
That’s easier said than done. “Patients demand antibiotics for themselves or their children since that is what they are accustomed to and if they don’t get satisfaction from one doctor, they will go to one that will give them what they want,” writes Norman Moore, PhD, Abbott Director of Scientific Affairs, Infectious Diseases.4
But what if healthcare professionals could access diagnostic results in minutes, not hours or days, so they could tell patients whether an antibiotic prescription would make sense — in the moment, at the point of care?
Dr. Carles Llor is one of the leaders of the international Happy Audit study of antibiotic overuse. He supervised a phase of the study that took place in Spain. It focused on treatment of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and whether rapid, accurate diagnosis at the point of care can prevent over-prescription.5
Primary care physicians in the study performed a POCT C-reactive protein (CRP) and Strep A rapid test, using Afinion™ CRP and Clearview® Exact Strep A.
The CRP rapid test was chosen because it’s reasonably inexpensive and easy to perform. It requires less than a drop of blood, and results are available in about three minutes. Furthermore, an organized hospital lab isn’t needed. The test can be performed directly by clinicians or nursing staff.5
The study’s findings showed that 40% of antibiotic prescriptions being written for LRTIs were wrong.
They also indicated that unnecessary prescriptions can be greatly reduced when healthcare professionals have the opportunity to perform CRP tests in their offices. Antibiotic prescription was lower among the physicians using the CRP rapid test (44%) compared with those who did not use the test (62%).5
Study conclusion: We must encourage public administrations to embrace the use of CRP in primary care. Now that’s one prescription we can all live with.
Raised cholesterol afflicts adults (over 190 mg/dl) afflicts adults (25+) across global regions, genders and income levels.4
Can a superior testing experience help healthcare professionals catch cardiovascular risk before it’s too late?
The World Health Organization estimates that raised cholesterol causes 2.6 million deaths worldwide each year.1 Early detection could help save lives and improve quality of life.2 But in many parts of the world, conventional labs are hard to get to, and tests can be expensive and time-consuming.2 That may be one reason tens of millions of cases of high cholesterol go undiagnosed.3
Easy access to POCT could encourage more people to get their cholesterol checked. Abbott wanted to test that premise. And since high cholesterol is such a global problem, where better to find out than Brazil in Summer 2016 — when the world came to Rio?
The Abbott Van is a mobile diagnostics unit, customized for point of care testing (POCT). It can carry and perform more than 90 rapid tests, point of care systems and high tech solutions for rapid diagnosis. That testing speed can help healthcare professionals diagnose cardiovascular issues quickly and accurately. And the van’s mobility makes testing accessible in areas where conventional labs aren’t readily available.
99% overall satisfaction
95% of patients scored their experience a 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5)
86% said they prefer POCT over traditional lab testing
90% would switch to POCT6
The van came to Rio on an itinerant lipid profile testing campaign, seeking to encourage healthy habits and discourage symptoms negligence.
With the support from Society of Cardiology of Rio de Janeiro Estate (Socerj), the Abbott Van team aimed to establish a culture of prevention and early diagnosis.
In just four days, 6,618 biometric cardiovascular risk metrics were performed using Cholestech LDX® Analyzer.6
The first step in identifying cardiovascular risk is getting patients tested. But in situations where you can’t get them to come to the lab, take it from Rio — bring the lab to the patients.
Read how we are helping HIV-positive babies beat overwhelming odds.
Imagine for a moment that you’re a child born to an HIV-positive mother in sub-Saharan Africa. If you’re very lucky, you’ll get tested for HIV within your first six weeks of life. The WHO reports that testing within that timeframe will identify more than 95% of infants who are infected intra- and peripartum2 — but that over 70 percent of children born to HIV-positive mothers don’t receive an HIV test within the first two months of life.3
Even if you do get tested in time, the danger’s far from over. If you tested positive, you’re now in a race against the clock to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART). Research shows that starting ART before a baby is 12 weeks old can reduce early mortality by 75%.4
Unfortunately, with typical centralized laboratory testing, it often takes six weeks or more to get results back. By that time, you’ll be older than 12 weeks, and your probability of survival will have diminished drastically. In fact, more than a third of HIV-positive babies who don’t receive HIV testing and ART before 12 weeks won’t live to see their first birthday, and half will die before they’re two years old.1
Without timely testing and treatment, HIV-positive infants face tragic odds
Of every 10 who don’t get an HIV test and antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the first 12 weeks, fewer than 7 will reach age 1 and only 5 will reach age 2.1
In direct response to the challenges of early infant diagnosis, Abbott developed the first-ever molecular diagnostic test that identifies HIV-1 and HIV-2 at the point of care in less than one hour.
The Alere™ q HIV-1/2 Detect assay was recently awarded prequalification by the WHO. That means global health organizations can now deploy the Alere™ q HIV-1/2 Detect test in developing countries to identify HIV-positive infants, so they can receive ART before it’s too late.
Healthcare professionals are already adopting Alere™ q HIV-1/2 Detect. For example, five clinics in Mozambique used the assay, with high sensitivity and specificity, to diagnose HIV in infants, expediting the initiation of ART.5
It’s also being utilized with great success in South Africa. In the words of Dr. Landon Myer of the University of Capetown:
“For the first time, I and the nurses and doctors that I work with can provide HIV test results for infants to their mothers on the same day that we conduct the test....It’s allowed us to act immediately in terms of referral and initiation of the process for antiretrovirals for infants. And that’s hugely important, of course, in terms of reducing morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected children.”6
Virological testing of HIV RNA is required for an accurate diagnosis in infants.
That’s because a baby of an HIV-positive mother has its mom’s protective antibodies in its bloodstream, and current point-of-care antibody tests can’t discriminate between the mother’s and infant’s antibodies.
Traditionally these virological assays have required skilled technicians in a laboratory setting often leading to delays in results for mothers and infants. Now with the revolutionary Alere™ q HIV-1/2 Detect test, this sophisticated assay can be automatically performed at the point of care.
The disease affects over 415 million people worldwide.1 But less than 7% get tested frequently enough. So a British physician decided to take his tests where the patients are.
Dr. Paul Wright and his staff felt like they were fighting an uphill battle against diabetes. The disease presents so many challenges — and like most practices nowadays, Dr. Wright’s operates under heavy time and cost constraints. The most frustrating part of all: only a small percentage of Dr. Wright’s patients were coming in for regular testing.
Incidence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing in every country1
By 2040, 642,000,000 adults worldwide will be diabetic1
That’s projected to include more than 5 million U.K. citizens by 20401
POCT offers numerous advantages, including:
He put point-of-care testing (POCT) in place in his office.
Dr. Wright selected an Alere Afinion™ AS100 Analyzer. It measures glycated hemoglobin in the blood to monitor long-term blood glucose control and provides results in minutes. The doctor chose the AS100 for “its ease of use, its reliability and the access to timely results, and for those results to be comparable to lab quality.”9
Having feedback available on the spot meant Dr. Wright could now provide a complete consultation in the moment, during the visit, so patients could better understand their risks.
Dr. Wright and his staff used their National Health Service Health Bus to take POCT directly into neighborhoods. He felt that by increasing access, he could target the practice’s resources to where they’re needed most.9
In the office and on the road, immediate access to results and advice led to significant improvements in patients’ health:
There’s no denying that diabetes is one of the most serious health threats of our time. But at least with pioneering solutions like POCT from Abbott, we may be on the road to driving the danger down.
The compact, multi-assay Alere™ Afinion AS100 Analyzer provides immediate feedback during patient consultation. That helps increase compliance and satisfaction, reduce lab and office visits, and motivate patients to make protocol modifications.
When it comes to HIV, the single biggest risk is not knowing your status. In Bali, a leading HIV and AIDS expert decided to fight ignorance with free and easily accessible testing.
Delivering healthcare can be hard when you have to overcome a mountain range or a desert plain. It can be even tougher when the obstacle is fear. That’s what Dr. Steve Wignall, founder and medical advisor of the Bali Peduli Foundation, found himself confronted with.
People in Bali — especially young men between the ages of 20 and 30 — were getting sick and dying at an alarming rate. Dr. Wignall knew that antiretroviral therapy (ART) could prevent many deaths. But in order to initiate ART, it was first necessary to establish that an individual was HIV-positive, and then measure their CD4 count.
Therein lay the challenge. Many members of Bali’s gay community weren’t getting tested for fear they’d be stigmatized, and also due to concerns over cost and inconvenience. As a result, they didn't know their CD4 numbers until it was too late.
The longer people with HIV go untreated, the lower their CD4 count falls — and the greater their risk of serious illness.2
CD4 point of care testing offers an opportunity to identify CD4 counts early and can reduce the complexity of the process from HIV diagnosis to ART initiation. One study showed the total time to ART initiation was decreased from 44 to 21 days.3
In response to the HIV epidemic, he and his foundation opened the Klinik Bali Medika.
To overcome young gay men’s fears of being ostracized by their fellow Indonesians, the clinic offered anonymous testing.
To take cost out of the equation, medical services were provided for free. It helped that the clinic’s key CD4 testing components, the Alere Pima™ Analyser and Alere Pima™ CD4 Test Cartridges, were donated by Alere.
When it came to increasing convenience, the Alere Pima™ CD4 test proved invaluable. It enabled the clinic’s medical personnel to get CD4 results in 20 minutes. So instead of having to make multiple trips to the clinic, patients received their HIV and CD4 results in the same visit — and got the information and medicine they needed to start doing something about their infections — all within just one hour.
Dr. Wignall and his staff found that of the individuals they tested, over 11% had HIV. Even more dismaying: more than 50% had sexually transmitted diseases.4
Here’s the silver lining: Dr. Wignall’s patients left the clinic knowing exactly where they were in their infection, what they could do to fight it and how to avoid transmitting diseases to others.
Without the Klinik Bali Medika and the Alere Pima™ CD4 test, they might not have learned of their infections until they were beyond help. According to Dr. Wignall, “the average CD4 count of a patient initiating anti-retroviral therapy in Indonesia is about 118. The average CD4 amongst our HIV-positive patients is about 320.”5
For millions of people worldwide, including the clients of a pioneering HIV clinic in Bali, getting results quickly is important.
The Alere Pima™ CD4 test consists of the Alere Pima™ Analyser and Alere Pima™ CD4 Cartridge. The test makes it easy for healthcare professionals to perform CD4 T-cell analysis at the point of care, so they can provide their patients with one-stop, same-day, absolute CD4 counts in 20 minutes.
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