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A nurse uses a pulse oximeter to check a male patient's oxygen at home.
Awarded centers focus on the development of innovative point-of-care devices for unmet medical needs in the US and worldwide.
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NIH to Address Unmet At-Home, PoC Testing Tech Needs

POCTRN to apply COVID-19 experience and expertise to develop testing, monitoring, and treating technologies

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
Published:Sep 21, 2023
|2 min read
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The National Institutes of Health will advance the development of home-based and point-of-care (PoC) health technologies with awards to six technology research and development centers around the country. The centers comprise the Point of Care Technology Research Network (POCTRN) and will parlay the momentum of the original network established in 2007 by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). In the first year of the new five-year grant period, these six centers will share $9.6 million in total awards. 

Through technological advances, health care can be delivered closer to the patient, leading to more timely and convenient care and ultimately better outcomes. The POCTRN model builds multidisciplinary partnerships that drive the development and application of technologies needed to achieve this goal. Awarded centers focus on the development of innovative PoC devices for unmet medical needs in the United States and worldwide. 

“NIH and NIBIB have long played an important role in guiding and supporting innovative health technologies,” said Bruce J. Tromberg, PhD, director of NIBIB. “As POCTRN demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, point-of-care and home-based technologies are more accessible to populations in low-resource settings and, therefore, serve a democratizing function in the health care sector.”  

POCTRN technology research and development centers address a range of unmet testing, monitoring, and treatment areas, such as heart disease, cancer, and HIV-AIDS, in a spectrum of settings, from child health to global health. Key to this approach is incorporating clinical and user needs in the technology development process while addressing early barriers to commercialization and implementation. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, POCTRN was expanded to create NIBIB’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx®) program, which delivered 8 billion COVID-19 tests to the nation and shifted testing from central labs to the home and point of care. Having facilitated the transformation in at-home and PoC diagnostics for COVID-19, POCTRN will apply this experience and expertise to a broad range of healthcare needs. 

“The POCTRN network has become a standout award mechanism for NIBIB and several other NIH institutes that recognize the empowering nature of point-of-care technologies,” said Tiffani Bailey-Lash, PhD, director of NIBIB’s POCTRN program. “Centers within the network are known for impactful technology designs, and supported projects receive specialized expert guidance to overcome a variety of tech development pitfalls, giving them the best chance for success.” 

This year’s POCTRN awards represent an expansion of the program with support from multiple NIH institutes, centers, and offices. 

- This press release was originally published on the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering website