Sustained growth is the one constant in the ever-changing world of healthcare, and with this surge, great challenges and opportunities in Point of Care Testing (POCT) present themselves. According to Market Reports Online, the global POCT market is forecast to reach $38 Billion by 2022. This expansion is driven in part by the increasing numbers of people contracting infectious diseases in developing countries, as well as the skyrocketing numbers of those affected by lifestyle ailments such as cardiac disease and diabetes. Patients facing higher deductibles, and hospitals and medical facilities under pressure to improve efficiency, will also contribute to sustained POCT growth.
“For packagers and supply chain partners, POCT market demand represents an abundance of possibilities,” offers Charles Ardman, LPS Industries’ Vice President of Marketing. “POCT makes critical laboratory tests more convenient and accessible. It’s indicative of the movement towards more patient-centered healthcare during detection, prevention, and treatment.”
With POCT, healthcare providers are able to operate more efficiently, reducing costs and risks, while increasing patient satisfaction. POCT not only reduces turnaround times and costs for both the patient and the healthcare provider, but it also simplifies test processes, making them less complex and expanding their use to greater numbers of trained personnel, and increasing the accessibility and availability of tests to more patients.
Ensuring that flexible packaging for the large array of POC test kits in the market has long-term shelf stability is of utmost concern for LPS Industries, a leader in the flexible packaging industry. It operates an ISO certified manufacturing facility, with established standards for dependable quality and consistency. Ardman adds, “We provide 100% supply chain traceability, and we’ve recently made important investments and improvements to better support the demands of the growing POCT industry.” These investments have virtually doubled the company’s capacity to produce hermetically sealed zippered foil-laminated bags, which LPS Industries continues to supply to the military on a regular basis, and provide as a format of choice for POCT components and kits.
POCT covers many circumstances that require routine monitoring or screening. The list includes: glucose, PT/INR, cholesterol and lipid screening, cardiac markers, infectious diseases such as flu and strep throat, HCG for pregnancy, HIV, fecal occult blood, and drugs of abuse. Molecular diagnostics is another example of POC testing. This growing market is composed of virology, bacteriology, molecular blood donor screening, and genetic testing. Different test kits require different types of high-barrier flexible packaging.
LPS Industries is ideally positioned to offer custom solutions with precise product protection that meets virtually any application. As an example, LPS Industries recently solved a problem for an international medical device company that was packaging electrocardiogram (EKG) pads. At the time, the pads were being packed in groups of five – just enough for one application. Then hospitals began requesting greater quantities per package. This efficiency-driven solution presented a problem: The prolonged exposure of unused pads in an open package caused the adhesive gel on the pads to dry out. LPS Industries was the first to engineer a zipper closure for a foil bag, which maintained a hermetic seal. With this new resealable closure, the lifecycle of as many as 40 EKG pads can now be prolonged in one bag, dramatically reducing cost and eliminating waste.
LPS Industries growing list of customers in the POCT market, represent a broad array of tests and testing devices, including microtiter plate and pipette packaging for diagnostic testing kits, dipstick and other testing kits. They also offer stock and custom manufactured biohazard specimen bags that meet OSHA specifications, and allow for secure transportation of sensitive medical specimens.
Among the next generation of POCTs are non-invasive or minimally invasive such as Google’s Smart Contact Lens, which monitors glucose levels; and sensor and microchip systems, which are self-contained portable devices that perform a variety of analytical functions. Ardman concludes, “For more than 50 years, our future-forward philosophy and client-focused approach have resulted in pioneering solutions to the most demanding challenges. That same thinking still drives everything we do today at LPS Industries as we continue our mission to create the breakthrough packaging solutions of tomorrow.”