The added value of diagnostic testing : A new perception
Clinicians rely on a wide variety of tools to aid their diagnoses and although this can sometimes be achieved based on a combination of the patient history , clinical symptoms , a physical examination and medical imaging , in many cases the use of in vitro diagnostics is required to fully determine or confirm the diagnosis .
Matteo Bassetti MD PhD Infectious Diseases Clinic , San Martino Hospital ; and Dept of Health Sciences , University of Genoa , Genoa , Italy
Healthcare professionals strive to achieve the highest quality of care for all their patients . However , central to providing the best possible outcome for a patient is a complete understanding of the presenting problem , that is , the diagnosis . Healthcare professionals rely on a wide variety of tools to aid their diagnoses and although this can sometimes be achieved based solely on a combination of the patient history , clinical symptoms , a physical examination and medical imaging , in many cases in vitro diagnostics ( IVDs ) are required to determine or fully confirm the diagnosis .
While the term IVD might not be a part of our common parlance , diagnostics are ubiquitous such that virtually everyone will have had an IVD test at some time in their lives , for example , a test for influenza , pregnancy , diabetes , etc .
Historically , diagnostic testing dates back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia , when physicians would make a diagnosis and treatment recommendations based primarily on observation of clinical symptoms . Fast forward to the 17th century and clinicians became aware that a diagnosis of diabetes could be achieved based on the sweetness of urine samples . By the mid 1800s , lab tests were available to detect infectious diseases , such as tuberculosis , cholera , typhoid and diptheria , 1 and diagnostics became increasingly recognised as a standard and indispensable part of health care . 2 From the 1950s to the 1970s , advances in the understanding of biological systems and diseases laid the foundation for the development of IVDs for the identification of infectious diseases , as well as conditions such as diabetes , heart and kidney disease , based on the use of specific microorganism or biological disease markers .
Today , IVDs provide an opportunity to cover the full range of patient care and enable the adoption of a personalised medicine approach . In short , the aspiration of IVDs is to ensure that the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time . Thus , IVDs can therefore be seen as an essential component of modern-day health care , having a direct impact on the quality of patient care , health-related outcomes and even on future use of healthcare resources . The role of IVDs has expanded beyond helping to make a diagnosis to include routine use in screening for disease as well as for monitoring a patient ’ s progress on treatment .
The value of diagnostic information The importance of IVDs and the concept of the value of diagnostic information ( known as VODI ) have been brought into sharp focus among the