With the advent of science, blood became a key diagnostic element. Withdrawn from the body, it was isolated and studied. Today, phlebotomy, the process of opening a vein and collecting blood for testing and diagnosis, is regularly used to measure cells, lipids, proteins, sugars, hormones, tumor markers and other blood components.
The results from blood tests, which can often take from days to weeks for a doctor to obtain from a commercial laboratory, are used to diagnose and treat many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, thyroid disorders, kidney disease, and many cancers.
Certain sophisticated blood tests can also precisely tell doctors when a treatment has lost its effectiveness, allowing them to stop a drug before it puts a patient at risk.
Even with a well-known fear of needles that many people have that oftentimes borders on phobia, seven billion laboratory blood tests are still performed annually in the U.S. and this accounts for 2 percent to 2.5 percent of all health spending today. It’s thought that seven to eight of every ten clinical decisions made by doctors are based on the results obtained from these blood draws.
The method that we have used to retrieve blood samples for laboratory testing over the past decades—with a tourniquet applied to a patient’s arm in a doctor’s office and a needle used to take often numerous vials of blood for testing—is about to undergo dramatic change.
A new painless, more accurate, faster, and significantly less expensive blood testing method has arrived.
Gone are the needles and vials, replaced instead by a proprietary software and hardware technology that uses but a drop of blood from the capillaries at the end of a finger in a virtually painless procedure. The blood sample is wicked into a special nanotainer, which holds the equivalent amount of a raindrop.
Shipped to a special CLIA-certified laboratory, hundreds of different tests can now be performed from that one drop of blood, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses.
Blood results are then sent back to the requesting physician in a matter of hours. When further testing is needed, it can be done immediately, again with the same tiny blood sample.
Ultimately this enhanced diagnostic process will provide better information so diseases can be caught in their earliest stages, and treatment begun quickly.
In addition, this novel testing, which can be collected at a local participating pharmacy as well as a doctor’s office, comes at a mere fraction of the cost of traditional blood testing methods. In some cases, these new tests will cost as little as 10 percent of the traditional Medicare reimbursement.
Where the cost of a standard lipid panel, one of the most common blood tests, is seemingly arbitrary and has varied wildly in price between $10 and $10,000 from hospital to hospital in this country, the new blood test will cost $2.99.
The company website, which now lists over 250 blood tests, posts the cost for each test, allowing patients to become informed medical consumers with true insights into real costs.
Where Are They Now
Receiving FDA approval in June 2015, this blood testing platform that only needs a drop of blood now offers over 153 tests for under $10 each, usually at 50% of the typical insurance copay. After a recent deal, consumers can now get these tests performed at various drugstore locations across the nation. In 2016, the CEO of a company pioneering this new art was banned from the industry and is currently under investigation by multiple government authorities. The company is facing at least 8 law suites from disgruntled customers. The company is expected to cease existing by the end of 2017.