Point-of-care testing is an efficient tool in the goal of preventing antibiotic over-use. 

This problem is immense. Action is needed at the very front line of primary healthcare. Finnish-based IVD company Aidian produces and markets a range of analytical tools that can address this and a number of other health challenges
Nordic Business

According to the Ministry of Health, antibiotic resistance is one of the major threats to public health globally. If antibiotics aren’t used with due care, bacteria can develop resistance, which in turn can cause harmless infections to become lethal. All too often, antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily, leading to an increase in antibiotic resistance with potentially huge and unpredictable long-term consequences.

‘It is estimated that upwards of fifty per cent of all antibiotics prescribed are incorrect or unnecessary,’ says Helle Jensen, Senior Key Account Manager Nordic at Aidian Denmark, which develops and markets tools for point-of-care testing (POCT). These are diagnostic tools for the healthcare sector that can quickly provide a guideline for how a patient should be treated.

Overuse must be reduced
According to the Ministry of Health’s website, it is estimated that around 700,000 people worldwide die each year from infections caused by bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics. WHO estimates that this number will grow to 10 million people by 2050. It is therefore crucial to combat resistance, which can be accomplished by reducing the overuse of antibiotics.

‘This is precisely where our analytical tools are of great help to healthcare professionals in the primary healthcare sector, which often finds itself tasked with assessing whether a citizen should be medicated or hospitalized. By using POCT tools, healthcare professionals can obtain a quick and accurate assessment of the treatment that is needed before the patient may be passed on in the system,’ says Helle Jensen.

In addition to focusing on a patient-centred method, POCTs also offer health economic benefits precisely because they are used at the front line of primary care. Helle Jensen at Aidian is pleased to see this development, as she is keenly aware of the responsibility that comes with being a company in the healthcare sector.

Less pressure on doctors
Needless to say, making a clinical assessment of the patient’s treatment needs as early as possible in the treatment process ¬– preferably before it even begins – decreases the risk of prescribing unnecessary medication. This is true not just in hospitals and emergency rooms, but also for general practitioners (GPs) who often face requests for antibiotics.

‘If a patient comes to the consultation convinced that they need antibiotics, a POCT analysis can support the doctor in saying yes or no based on a neutral analysis, without having to discuss it with the patient, who may be suffering from a viral infection and not a bacterial infection,’ Helle Jensen explains. This is undoubtedly a benefit for GPs, who will be relieved from the pressure to write unneeded prescriptions.

Patient-centred tests are key
She adds that an estimated 80-90% of all prescriptions are made in primary care. If serious efforts can be made in this area, it will have a strong impact on reducing the overuse of antibiotics. Meanwhile, the analytical tools provided by Aidian cover a wide range of applications, and a health crisis such as COVID-19 has helped boost the use of their tests.

‘For instance, we offer tools that can analyze a cancer patient against twenty different parameters in just five minutes, which makes it possible to, among other things, assess whether it is safe for a patient to attend chemotherapy treatment in a specific situation,’ Helle Jensen concludes. The POCT tools are, in other words, not only aimed at acute needs, but are also user-friendly, which allows patients to use them in their own home or in a nursing home.

Helle Jensen explains that an estimated 80-90% of all prescriptions are created in primary care. If serious efforts can be made in this area, it will have a strong impact in reducing the overuse of antibiotics.

A wide range of tools
Aidan offers a range of POCT tools and associated tests, including the QuikRead Go Multianalysis instrument that can measure CRP values in no more than two minutes as well as Hb, HbA1c, Strep A, and iFOBt. Other tools include the SD BIOSENSOR STANDARD F tool for testing influenza and COVID-19, among others, and the Hemoscreen (Pixcell), a hematology tool that analyzes 20 different parameters in under five minutes.

The range of applications is thus very broad, and the tools are aimed at GPs, emergency services, hospitals, pre-hospital functions such as ambulances and medical cars, as well as emergency teams, and elderly people in nursing homes or in their own homes in the form of home monitoring. The manufacturing is carried out at Aidian as well as by external sub-suppliers.

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