Welcome to the workshop on "Improving Health Care Accessibility Through Point-of-Care Technologies." The meeting was jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) and the National Science Foundation. Each of these sponsoring agencies has an interest in evaluating the potential role that point-of-care testing can play in addressing many of the Nation's current health care challenges, including, among others, management of chronic illness, reduction of health care costs, improvements in accessibility and quality, and provision of care for an aging population.
As such, the goal of the workshop was to bring together technology developers, clinical researchers, and clinicians to assess the technological developments required for advances in point-of-care testing and to identify high-priority clinical problems that can benefit from a point-of-care approach. The workshop was structured around a "systems" perspective, both technology-based systems and the health care system as a whole, to reflect the belief that changing the way health care is delivered will lead to significant improvements in quality, accessibility, and cost of services.
The meeting included oral and poster presentation on the state of the science in relevant technology areas, including sensors and lab-on-a-chip devices, non-invasive and minimally-invasive patient monitoring, low-cost imaging, health informatics, and telehealth. In addition, leading clinicians and clinical researchers provided insight into pressing clinical needs in health care settings with the potential for greatest impact on accessibility, specifically primary care, emergency medical services, home health care, and developing countries. Industry representatives addressed broadly their perspectives on the barriers to commercialization of point-of-care technologies and the challenges and opportunities associated with working at the technology/clinical interface. The meeting closed with a discussion of the role of evidence in policy decisions and with a summary of community recommendations for advancing the field of point-of-care testing. Final recommendations will be available here in the future.
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