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Increasing Patient Empowerment Through Lab Tests

August 6, 2015

Finger Blood Test for Malaria

Blood is not only a carrier of life within the body, it’s also arguably the most reliable channel of information once it leaves the body either as a droplet on a sophisticated diagnostic strip or in larger quantities in a laboratory vial.

For millions of people living healthy lives with diabetes, a common condition affecting nearly 30 million Americans, checking their blood glucose levels at home through a simple drop of blood is a daily occurrence. But what about access to blood tests for hundreds of other conditions without having to see your physician first?

At iSpecimen we’re excited to see increased opportunities to glean information in far more simple and cost effective ways than a trip to the doctor’s office. Last month the Huffington Post wrote about Theranos, a company helping bring smarter, faster, and cheaper blood tests to non-traditional testing environments – like a commercial pharmacy. For just a few dollars, consumers down the road may be able to understand what could be happening in their body without requiring a visit to the doctor’s office or a claim with their insurance company. And, by only giving the amount of blood obtained from the prick of a finger.

In a recent op-ed featured in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, talked about how patient empowerment will usher in a new era of preventative care. We believe patients should always have the ability to understand what is happening within their body – and to do so in a cost-effective, efficient manner that works for their busy lifestyles. Of course, any medical conditions determined to exist through such tests should be discussed with the proper healthcare professional.

We’re happy that patients are being given the chance to be more involved in their healthcare. Participating in research is another way that patients can become more involved in the healthcare process, particularly as some of the new diagnostics or treatments discovered may affect them or their families. As more hospitals ask patients to contribute their clinical discards or other specimens to research studies, it is our view that making the process clear and easy to participate in will be critical to gaining more consumer donors. Ironically, the development of a simple fingertip blood test is just the type of medical breakthrough that can be discovered through high-quality, well-annotated human biospecimens.