Does the COVID-19 pandemic have a silver lining? A current article by UMass Chan Medical Faculty and UMass Lowell researchers in Humanities & Social Sciences Communications, a Nature Portfolio journal, experiences that curiosity amongst well being care professionals in point-of-care applied sciences (POCTs) elevated throughout the pandemic, with perceived purposes of easy-to-use at-home, cellular or bedside units in a broader vary of illnesses.
Well being care professionals additionally seen the adoption of POCTs as facilitating the humanization of epidemiology—in different phrases, sharing management of illness prognosis and administration with sufferers, somewhat than persevering with to be provider-driven.
So-called “grey swan occasions,” that are anticipated however unpredictable, can shift attitudes and behaviors, reminiscent of about how societies administer and supply entry to well being care in addition to provide distinctive alternatives to stimulate innovation, the authors wrote. COVID-19 introduced one such grey swan alternative.
“I used to be making an attempt to know if there was any form of optimistic trajectory that occurred because of COVID,” mentioned senior creator Denise R. Dunlap, PhD, affiliate professor of worldwide technique, entrepreneurship and innovation at UMass Lowell’s Manning Faculty of Enterprise. “Fortunately, we had collected information earlier than COVID hit. And subsequently, we had one other survey that was going out throughout that point interval within the pandemic. So, it supplied a novel alternative to check tendencies pre-and post-COVID.”
Comparatively few different research have checked out components affecting adoption of POCTs amongst well being care professionals, in accordance with the paper’s authors. COVID-19 supplied a possibility to spotlight the weaknesses in well being care supply programs, together with a dependence on laboratory-based diagnostic applied sciences, and to quickly develop novel applied sciences to handle affected person wants.
Dr. Dunlap and her colleagues labored with UMass Chan researchers David D. McManus, MD, the Richard M. Haidack Professor in Drugs and chair and professor of drugs; Nathaniel Hafer, PhD, assistant professor of molecular drugs and lead investigator of the Nationwide Institute of Well being’s (NIH) Speedy Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Tech Scientific Research Core Logistics Workforce; Craig M. Lilly, MD, professor of drugs, anesthesiology and surgical procedure; and T.H. Chan Faculty of Drugs fourth-year scholar Sean Teebagy.
“Level of care was actually a backwater for a very long time,” mentioned Dr. Hafer. “Now, having the COVID expertise, all people is aware of what an at-home check is and the advantages of having the ability to check themselves. So, the dialog has modified from, ‘What the heck is that this all about?’ to, ‘How will we apply this now to most cancers or different infectious illnesses, and so forth.?’”
Within the present research, researchers administered equivalent surveys to a community of well being care professionals, researchers and medical machine builders. The primary survey was distributed from October 2019 to late March 2020. The second was distributed from late October by November 2020.
Respondents have been requested to call as much as 5 situations for which a POCT may assist make a prognosis of a illness; title as much as 5 situations for which a POCT may assist them monitor or handle a illness; and which traits of POCT are most vital when incorporating it into their common observe.
Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, well being care professionals recognized 18 medical situation classes for which POCTs might be used to diagnose a illness. Endocrine issues, together with diabetes mellitus, featured prominently amongst these, adopted by infectious illness, cardiovascular and hematology situations.
Following COVID-19’s designation as a pandemic, well being care professionals recognized 20 medical situations for which POCTs might be used to diagnose a illness. Infectious illness and cardiovascular-related medical situations rose to the middle of this community, adopted by endocrine, respiratory and hematology situations.
Perceptions of POCTs to handle or monitor a illness additionally shifted. Earlier than the pandemic, well being care professionals recognized heart problems because the class for which point-of-care expertise was most useful for monitoring or managing. As soon as COVID-19 was designated a pandemic, endocrine illnesses have been recognized because the situation for which POCT was most helpful. Nonetheless, metabolic illnesses skilled the best improve in curiosity.
“I consider there are numerous totally different causes as to why point-of-care expertise turned extra vital after COVID; as a result of the extra you get used to utilizing a expertise, the extra you see the advantages of getting that expertise,” mentioned Dunlap.
Dunlap steered that throughout the pandemic, lots of people with heart problems or most cancers didn’t get identified as a result of they have been afraid to go to the hospital or their well being care supplier canceled routine screenings.
“COVID has made it so not solely have been point-of-care checks wanted for COVID testing, however point-of-care applied sciences have been wanted as a result of well being care is changing into extra decentralized,” Dr. McManus mentioned. “There’s no query from our paper that you can see adjustments when it comes to acceptance of those applied sciences and integration into mainstream well being care. Individuals thought they have been extras, however now that’s a vital ingredient in well being care.”
The challenge developed out of the UMass Heart for Advancing Level of Care Applied sciences (CAPCaT), a member of the NIH Level-of-Care Know-how Analysis Community, co-directed by McManus and co-author Bryan Buchholz, PhD, chair and professor of biomedical engineering at UMass Lowell. Supported by a $7.9 million grant from the NIH, CAPCaT is a part of the Massachusetts Medical Gadget Growth Heart (M2D2), operated by UMass Chan Medical Faculty and UMass Lowell, to assist biotech and medical-device startups bridge the hole between thought and market.