Routine Clinical Laboratory Diagnostics Using Point of Care or Lab on a Chip Technology
In the past decades the clinical laboratory had made significant technological advances focused on clinical efficiency and efficacy. Responding to the demand of an increased efficiency in clinical laboratory diagnosis, there has been a recent trend towards a more decentralized diagnostic analysis near to the patients. The idea of this so-called point-of-care testing (POCT) is to bring the test immediately and in a convenient way to the patient. These devices have been developed to offer improvements in convenience, patient care and turnaround time. POCT systems should be fast, small, and simple to use while maintaining state-of-the-art performance features. The concept of POCT represents a fundamental shift in diagnostic testing where the objective is cost-effective, patient-focused testing at the site of diagnosis. In this chapter, the concept of POCT, as well the idea of Lab-on-a-Chip technology is discussed in the fields of diabetes care, including the use of glucometers, gestational diabetes, continuous blood glucose monitoring, multiparameter analysis, general clinical chemistry, and the modern diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. Modern methods in hematology also make use of the Lab-on-a-Chip and POCT technology. Last, but not least, the clinical use and performance characteristics of these laboratory tests are discussed in this chapter. The authors conclude that POCT and Lab-on-a-Chip technologies provide a revolutionary diagnostic technology in improving patient outcomes.