To say the past few years have been a time of change in healthcare would be an understatement.
Care providers around the world continue to embrace digital transformation across the healthcare industry. We have seen the rise of transformative new technologies and the creation of new models of care—all with one goal: to promote and enable better patient outcomes. Combined with the growing role of the pharmacy as a key location for deploying point-of-care testing, it’s clear why this innovative model is rapidly gaining popularity.
The pharmaceutical industry, already a $1.7 trillion global business, is transitioning from a distributed care model to a more profitable, successful, patient-centric delivery model—supporting the development of point-of-care technologies in the process.
The Power of Point-of-Care Technology
Point-of-care testing utilizes a suite of solutions to dramatically simplify medical testing procedures. By leveraging technologies such as blood analyzers, clinicians can get real-time test results in minutes. This in turn enables them to ensure better patient outcomes and provide the highest quality care.
Recent technological advancements have made these tests more efficient and accurate, and in many cases, patients can perform these tests in the comfort and safety of their homes. Even where advanced equipment is required, the equipment usually does not require specialized training to operate. There are other benefits of point-of-care technology (POCT).
First, it allows results to be shared in real-time for doctors to review and consult with colleagues when they need to. The fact that tests can be performed so quickly and shared via the cloud also eliminates considerable delays in the treatment process. Instead of waiting for lab results, doctors have immediate answers that can be used for diagnosis.
POCT also fits well with the health sector’s transition to electronic health data, providing analytics-based results that are automatically attached to a patient’s health record and readily available to other medical staff. Again, this supports better outcomes across the healthcare sector.
Despite its many benefits, POCT is not without obstacles, many of which stem from its conflicts with traditional workflows, thought processes, and procedures. Current evidence suggests that pharmacists have the potential to be drivers of innovation across the health sector, while supporting the development of POCT while addressing widespread staffing and resource shortages.
Rethinking the ideal point of care
For years, a doctor’s office was widely considered the best place to get point-of-care testing. Recent developments in healthcare have challenged this concept. Before COVID-19, experts had warned of an impending shortage of home care doctors.
The pandemic will only exacerbate the problem. Physicians are already planning their retirement or scaling back their home practice. New graduates have gone on to professional practice in family medicine. This all happened before the pandemic caused a massive exodus of health care workers.
With POCT support, pharmacies are well positioned to step in and fill the void left by family physicians.
Industry leaders such as CVS and Walmart have made significant investments in expanding their service offerings. Not to be outdone, Walgreens — by far one of the largest drugstore chains in North America — has developed and deployed several POCT-based programs.
While these innovations have had a positive impact on the industry, they have also made it very clear that better systems and tools are urgently needed. Current point-of-care technologies carry many outdated design principles that have long hindered hospitals’ efforts to embrace digital transformation. Rather than appreciating their convenience and ability to deliver better outcomes, patients are frustrated.
Cumbersome interfaces, unreliable software, impressive testing techniques, and painful authentication processes hinder what should be an extraordinary experience — not to mention data breach concerns.
New Approaches to Healthcare Innovation
Not everyone is mired in the quagmire of the past. Canada is a globally recognized hub for technology innovation and is now home to the most robust POCT program in the pharmacy space, offered by Canada’s largest chain, Shoppers Drug Mart. An industry leader, Shoppers Drug Mart began a pilot of Avricore Health’s (TSXV:AVCR) turnkey point-of-care platform, HealthTab™, in 2021.
The initial pilot, deployed at 53 sites, was a huge success, with more than 16,000 tests performed on nearly 7,000 patients. Of these patients, 31% received new drug treatment, 28% received drug dose adjustment, three-fifths received direct intervention by a pharmacist, and 235 undiagnosed diabetes cases were identified. And all this without requiring the patient to step into the doctor’s office.
Following this success, Shoppers Drug Mart announced its intention to bring the turnkey platform to one-third of its locations nationwide. The platform has been deployed to 104 pharmacies in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. It will eventually be available at 450 locations.
Meanwhile, in Alberta, HealthTab™ has partnered with the Lethbridge Real Canadian Superstore, which is now the province’s first pharmacist-led walk-in clinic.
In both cases, HealthTab™ utilizes cloud-connected test instrumentation, secure delivery and result calculation, and an incredibly robust quality assurance program. Testing is made possible through a 2020 partnership between Avricore Health and global POCT manufacturer Abbott. Most importantly, this can be seen as a proof-of-concept for an entire pharmacy POCT solution.
HealthTab™ has demonstrated not only the viability of its industry, but the ability of well-prepared businesses to scale and meet demand while maintaining low acquisition costs and high cash flow. While serious competitors are on the horizon, HealthTab™ is now poised to have the world’s largest and most robust network of cloud-connected POCT pharmacies, testing hundreds of thousands of patients and creating significant new opportunities for the pharmacy industry. The same technology has the potential to be leveraged in decentralized clinical trials.
The health sector is developing. Point-of-care technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, as solutions such as HealthTab™ demonstrate. It appears that more and more of the revolution may take place in pharmacies rather than traditional clinics — something healthcare investors have to keep in mind.
This INNSpired article is sponsored by Avricore Health (TSXV:AVCR).The information provided in this INNSpired article was provided by the Investing News Network (INN) and provided by Avricore Health to help investors learn more about the company. Avricore Health is a customer of INN. The company’s event fee is paid to INN to create and update this INNSpired article.
This INNSpired article has been prepared in accordance with INN editorial standards and is intended to educate investors.
INN does not provide investment advice and the information in this presentation should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any of the companies described.
The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation to sell or buy securities. Readers should research all publicly available information about the company for themselves.Before making any investment decision, readers are advised to consult directly Avricore Health and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
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