New Report Discusses Role of Point-of-Care Testing in Changing Diagnostic Paradigms

May 24, 2017

Washington, DC – May 24, 2017 – The American Academy of Microbiology has released a new report on point-of-care (POC) and near-patient testing and changing diagnostic paradigms in microbiology. Technology for diagnosing infectious diseases in patients is rapidly advancing, and new diagnostic tests have the potential to meaningfully improve patient care. Recommendations for the Academy’s report, Changing Diagnostic Paradigms for Microbiology, were based on discussions of a panel of experts. The Academy convened a colloquium from October 17 to 18, 2016 in Washington, DC to explore the development and implementation of near-patient and POC testing and to provide recommendations for using these tests to improve patient care across clinical settings.

“Rapid diagnostic tests have the potential to deliver timely results, enable treatment decisions by detecting the presence of biomarkers, distinguish between viral and bacterial infections, identify causative organisms, and provide information on drug resistance,” said Melissa Miller, Ph.D., Steering Committee Chair of the colloquium. The report focuses on the unmet needs for research and development of new diagnostic tests, for ongoing regulatory review of POC tests, and for laboratorian expertise, even in near-patient settings. The participants also discussed the importance of proper interpretation of test results, and linking test results to electronic medical records. They emphasized the need for microbiology experts to guide the development and utilization of tests and ensure proper reporting of results.

“The expertise of clinical microbiologists is essential to maximizing the value and minimizing the risk of point-of-care infectious disease diagnostics, provided that clinical microbiologists adapt their practice to this setting,” said Sheldon Campbell, M.D., Ph.D., Yale School of Medicine, a participant in the Academy colloquium.

The report summarized proper utilization of tests, such as the importance of ordering appropriate tests and correctly interpreting test results, the need for proper training and education on test usage, and contamination concerns. It also discussed regulation of the tests (reporting issues to FDA, CMS requirements), and the importance of documenting results and reporting to health departments when necessary. For the future, participants agreed that POC tests should be linked to web-based quality and performance matrices that would revolutionize POC testing quality and reach.

For more information on advances in diagnostics, read the commentary, Advances Afoot in Microbiology, co-authored by Robin Patel, M.D., and Brad S. Karon, M.D., Ph. D., in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Melissa Miller and Robin Patel will be participating in a media expert session in the press room at ASM Microbe 2017 to discuss the report and answer questions about novel diagnostic testing and point-of care. To obtain a press pass for the meeting or schedule an interview please contact


The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 50,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.