The easily remembered acronym COMMAND QUALS summarizes the most commonly cited attributes of coherently designed sensors and serve as design parameters when designing point of care diagnostic systems. All integrated approaches for use in both traditional clinical and resource-scare settings seek to create devices and assay platforms that are:

  • Cheap - keeping costs low increases access to diagnostic testing;
  • Obvious - simple and easy user-interfaces allows use by unskilled operators;
  • Miniaturized - devices with reduced footprint are amenable to POC use;
  • Multiplexed - the ability to quantitate a number of different analytes concurrently increases the ability to effectively make diagnoses;
  • Automated - built-in sample processing, reagent handling, and data interpretation further promotes widespread access of diagnostic aides;
  • Non-perishable - rugged designs survive difficult storage, shipping, and handling as well as extreme temperatures; eliminating the so-called ‘cold-chain’ also increases access to such systems; 1 year half-lives are desirable;
  • Dependable - the design should have an extremely low rate of failure and be highly reproducible, similar to six sigma and GLP quality control designs;
  • Quick - short turnaround time (TAT) gives information to physicians quickly which is especially important in emergency room environments;
  • Unobtrusive - non-invasive diagnostic specimens and sampling procedures reduces patient testing antipathy, making regular screening events possible;
  • Adaptable – modular devices have the ability to quantitate a variety of analytes (cells, proteins, nucleic acids, small molecules, ions);
  • Limited - small reagent and sample volumes decrease costs and minimize requirements of biohazard waste disposal and environmental impact; and
  • Self-contained - reagent and power integration makes for a smaller device footprint; a closed system prevents exposure to biohazard waste.

J.V. Jokerst, B. Bhagwandin, J.W. Jacobson, J.T. McDevitt, "Clinicial Application of a Programmable Nano-Bio-Chip", Lab on a Chip, 2009, 24-27.