Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) can literally be lifesavers in the medical industry, particularly in clinics and out in the field where more advanced testing may not be readily available. Typically rapid diagnosing tests are used to quickly and accurately identify infectious diseases (ranging from the minor case of strep throat to the more serious case of malaria), as well as pregnancy. Typically, RDTs are administered on a blood specimen, and in many instances, the amount of blood required is no more than a few drops.
Normally, a rapid diagnostic test will provide a result in about 15 to 20 minutes, though some tests may produce results sooner, especially in the case of certain serious infections like influenza. RDTs are very important in the medical industry because they provide fast and reliable results, and these tests can be administered almost anywhere. Health professionals in countries where there may not be a hospital close by or any hospital at all commonly use RDTs. While blood tests that are more thorough should be performed to check for other diseases or to rule out other problems, the use of an RDT can pinpoint why a patient is sick, and assist the medical staff with providing the appropriate treatment.