Blood Test Analysis Demand Is Becoming High- Why?
October 12, 2018
October 12, 2018
Blood Test Analysis Demand Is Becoming High- Why?
Glucose and cholesterol testing take place every once in a while as part of the annual blood test analysis for most of us. These days, the advance glucose monitors test at the very high frequency and are playing a vital role in improving the quality of life. Also, it is offering a great opportunity for people to keep track of their physiological conditions.
Fig: Blood Test Analysis Demand Is Becoming High
Cholesterol testing is getting there even though it is not as modern as glucose testing. At the Dublin Quantified Self meetup in January, the theme was based on high-frequency blood testing to monitor glucose and cholesterol levels. On glucose level, DCU’s Donal O’Gorman, a professional in tracking glucose tolerance in humans, and on cholesterol, Quantified Self Labs’s Azure Grant spoke. Here are the benefits of high-frequency glucose and cholesterol tests.
Poor glucose control and diabetes is a major problem these days across the world. Donal O’Gorman is speaking about blood glucose in the body and the ways to measure it next. He is an expert in this field. Also, Donal serves the National Institute for Cellular Biology (NICB) as an interim director and controls 3U Diabetes Partnership.
Poor control over glucose levels in the body doesn’t just cause diabetes, but it also causes complications in other diseases like heart disease, obesity, cancer or Alzheimer’s, according to the latest findings. If we discuss the history of type 1 diabetes, Donal spoke about using glucose monitors, injecting insulin and implementing advanced glucose monitoring measures.
From Apple iWatch with the integration of glucose monitor to insulin patches to release insulin when required. A new technology is developing these days for the near future. When it comes to controlling glucose levels, one important takeaway is exercise all day long for great health benefit on glucose levels which lasts a whole day and even in the night.
High-frequency blood test analysis provides a lot of information to keep track of your health. There is a new science to discover cholesterol testing and how high-cholesterol readings are treating high-frequency data. High-frequency information is showing the complication of biomarkers. It can help to interact with the body in different ways which are still not known completely in the day. Better technology bringing better solutions to growing advances in technology.
Quantified Labs are running ‘Blood Testers’ experiment to find out what people could learn with hourly measurements of lipids. The lipids of blood such as HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. This experiment consists of over 25 volunteers over three continents and nine countries from the Quantified Self-community.
According to the study, the cholesterol levels in humans change drastically in a day and even at the same time from morning to morning at a rapid rate. How it is happening is still not clear. However, the initial mapping is being done in this experiment about lipid dynamics in the world.
This is a novel experiment in two different ways. First of all, it is the highest real-world observation in the temporal resolution of blood lipids that are conducting in humans. It is also an aggressive form of research led by the volunteers. Participants can control and have access to their own data and they can use and share experience in physiology, research methods, data analysis, and technology.
There are cycles throughout the day, according to the study, which response to major changes throughout the day, such as what time we sleep at or wake, what time we eat etc. Along with mapping changes in blood lipids in and throughout the days, here’s what we have learned –
Over two weeks of moving to a vegan diet, cholesterol is reduced on the day and it remained significantly lower.
Triglyceride levels and cholesterol of a participant reduced gradually during marathon training.
There is a huge variability from morning to morning at a rapid pace.
The third finding may be more important. Is a single sample relevant which is tested once a year? Keep in mind that annual measurements play a vital role in the decision of the physician to prescribe cholesterol-controlling drugs. In a group, this type of self-experimentation brought up a lot of interesting and new ethical concerns about participatory research.
Even though the popularity of Citizen Science is growing rapidly for a decade. The research which organized, directed and disseminated explicitly has little precedent by the participants in the 21st century. It has spurred on a new field of legal regulation and ethics regarding research.
Are home-based, on-demand blood tests good for health?
Products which were once available only in traditional stores are now coming in our doorsteps these days. Products are sometimes easier to access and more affordable than before simply by avoiding the role of storefronts and middlemen.
What if those middlemen are doctors and those products are blood tests? There are different companies like Lab Me Analytics enable patients to keep track of their blood test analysis and get all the insight about their glucose and testosterone levels at home. Is there any risk or benefit of collecting and interpreting your clinical information if you don’t have any training?
Peter Andrey, a leading science writer, ordered the blood test from a leading pharmacy company Inside Tracker to figure it out. A nurse arrived at his apartment, to collect his blood sample and the numbers came back two days later, relating the complete range of biological indicators like vitamin D, glucose, and testosterone levels. But, according to Smith, blood test analysis results have been clear of dispensing medical help.
Smith says, “They said it is under the range of what is expected by us for someone of your activity level and age. So, they really come handy when it comes to interpreting data for you. They have made it clear that it shouldn’t be treated as medical advice. Instead, it is simply the tool to get healthier.”
It may enough for some people to use high demand for blood testing as a tool to lead a healthier life. In this subject, Smith has written an article on Outside magazine. Smith took a lot of blood tests over the few weeks, changed his exercise routine and diet between the tests. Also, he asked an endurance athlete who treated a burn hip using ibuprofen, before taking a blood test from Inside Tracker.
He says, “It seems she knew that she was abusing ibuprofen. When she got the numbers, she was kind of shocked that it’s just like, not good for her liver. So, she knew it already that she was being engaged in dangerous drug abuse. She actually wanted to change her habits after seeing her numbers.”
In the increasing access to blood testing at home, potential mistakes can be seen by some medical professionals. An associate professor at Northwestern University of pathology, Shannon Haymond has added that we can visit the store for urine drug tests or pregnancy tests. A lot of diabetics have experienced in checking their own blood sugar levels. She feels that at-home blood testing can put us on the wrong path by and large, in terms of monitoring our health.
She added, “I feel there is a point that blood test analysis may affect badly. Actually, the whole thing is too interesting in clinical settings. However, the hospital settings and a lot of efforts are taking to cut down the number of tests that are offering and the tests patients are getting. It is sure that there are several things to do and it’s the wastage of resources and money.”
Along with that, Haymond further added that tests don’t produce accurate blood work results always. She says, “There are plenty of false negatives and positives you may get in some tests, and those percentages can ramp up too frequently, according to the way they are being used. So, I feel that there is the idea that it is simply a test. There is actually a harm to be done in some cases.”
When most of the blood work from Peter Andrey came back in the healthy range, his baseline test showed his levels of vitamin D to be lower. He spoke with Inside Tracker official who told that his levels were too low and he wouldn’t be able to reach the normal range without taking vitamin doses.
Smith says, “I actually didn’t want to take supplements. When taking supplements, one of the common problems is that they are all kinds of disagreements about the proper levels of vitamin D. Second thing is that if you are taking supplements regularly, you simply have to take more tests to find out if you are not exceeding your limit.”
The option to test his blood at home constantly is no call of the siren. But he will not rule out to do it in future occasionally. He says, “It’s like it is a kind of taking an Uber or hailing a cab at this point. The results are fast and it is very simple to do.”
Meeting growing demand for lab services with the growth of the healthcare industry
Reducing reimbursement, higher volumes and increased pressures of cost are some of the challenges, hospital labs are facing these days. What are the strategies that laboratories can adapt to meet those challenges and improve the value of patient care?
Senior Healthcare Consultant, Dr. Virginia Cardin, Frost & Sullivan had discussions on results from the recent research on hospital labs, which details insights on how labs are adapting to succeed in an environment that is shaped by competition, changing healthcare reform and provider dynamics.
Laboratories Provide Valuable Service, Not a Product
Dr. Cardin says, “From the point of view of a laboratory doctor, it is going without saying that laboratory is offering essential and important service. There is around 75% of the information available from the laboratory on the basis of which inpatient treatment decisions are made by the physicians.”
When this view is shared by the clinicians, with great importance on their bonding with pathologist or director, hospital leadership doesn’t do that sometimes. Dr. Cardin notes, “There are C-level executives who sometimes combine costly real estate with low generation of revenue.” There are some test labs that certainly perform which are reimbursed at low cost. It shows the view that service offered by the lab is a product.
Dr. Cardin counters, “The opposite is right actually. Lab test services are tedious in different degrees, which need advanced analysis by medical technician/laboratory, clinical director or pathologist. It covers the interpretation of values, sometimes value ranges, combined with patient’s history review as well as clinical presentation. Like medical practice, it is both a science and art. The challenge is having hospital leadership to recognize the overall value of lab service in the same way as the total investment return.
The clinical experience applied to identify abnormal readings and to make recommendations of follow-up on the stage or degree of abnormality. Also, to influence the decision of clinician on specific intervention or therapy is an illustration of value provided by lab staff. Clinical experience is getting the natural history of condition or disease, such as regression and progression characters on one hand, and ability to offer analysis on less optimal samples.
As noted by Dr. Cardin, it is recommended to wait and watch, in some cases, patient follow-up in a few months, rather than suggesting higher level diagnostic or medical procedure.
Clinical experience can also cover the consultations in some unsuspecting cases where there is the rare case of disease and results are not coming to conclusion. For a lot of test results, results can be reported in different normal values. More than one doctor can order tests for a patient in a hospital. If varied test panels give high values in some cases and conflicting normal values possibly, collaborative consult and further investigation with a clinical director or pathologist will require. It results in deliberate and better patient care.
Helping An Organization To Attain Business Goals
A laboratory can play a vital role in the ability of a hospital to stand out as a hub of excellence. It is important for hospital staff to find out how a lab can help them to achieve their main goals. In a survey conducted by the Frost & Sullivan, lab directors discussed new ways that have been explored by them.
According to Dr. Cardin predicting demand for more esoteric and diagnostic tests, low resources and usefulness of turnaround time of inpatient test can lead to havoc in lab management. Stat tests should have high priority and labs may have additional contracts with labs to meet their unique needs. Others have built outpatient/outreach program strategically to generate new sources of revenue. Should hospital labs build partner or capacity externally? Well, there is no specific way.
The ability to provide a broader level of test menu was reported too as a vital consideration in a verdict to partner with reference labs. Dr. Cardin reports, “Hospital labs will often go with reference labs to perform esoteric tests like fertility, oncology or molecular tests. According to 70% of hospital labs, they have agreements with around 3 reference labs which could help their activities of outreach marketing.”
There is also a financial rationale to supplement test with the additional partnership. Along with increasing prominence of low-volume tests on the cost-efficiency level, labs can benefit with savings and connectivity with hospital information system and lab information system.
An Important Role in Improvement of Healthcare
With the improvement of the healthcare environment, there is a strong case which we can make that hospital lab should consider as an asset to the organization. Lab tests can be considered as transnational. However, the basis of interpretation is on the care and history of the patient. It is vital to have access to meaningful, complete information. Also, it is important to the health system and outcomes. As an information provider, labs are about to play a vital role.
Dr. Cardin says, “Our main goal is health maintenance and wellness as healthcare providers. Laboratories and hospitals should figure out how well they can offer the right service to the right individual. We know it as a call to action. Laboratories need to step back, assess where they are now, and where they should be in the next few years.”
Evolution of Technology in Clinical Laboratories
The lab environment is characterizing well by dramatic and rapid innovation since the 1980s. There has been significant growth in the complexity and range of services and tests available. Sometimes, lab technology remains ahead in medical advances.
The testing techniques to screen or diagnose for a specific condition are available in some cases before proper treatment. Testing is more effective with improvement in lab technology. It is including both advance and new sets in testing techniques and types of equipment.
Technology can save time in order, getting test results and will revolutionize the way we transfer data. Also, by creating research opportunities on large sets of data, it will play a large role in drug research and development.
Especially, when it is very effective than other methods, innovation is being adopted by providers, payers and patients. Also, the efficient innovation in medical care can affect by policies based on coding, coverage, and payment. There are different variations in the technology using by various labs.
Role of Information Technology in Laboratory Testing
Laboratory services are no exception in IT revolution like several other areas of healthcare services. Lab technicians stay ahead with emerging technology. Also, they are finding more efficient and innovative ways to offer services. The services such as: convey information, train themselves, their clients, and their staff, manage data and market their products.
Online communications are not getting hampered by geographic distance and difference and they are cost-effective. It is forecast that the internet will be the main mode of communication in the future. These days, test results and requests for testing are communicated online. Even hard to diagnose images are sent efficiently and quickly to the physicians through electronic image transmission.
It is going without saying that information technology is creating new opportunities in advertising and marketing for labs. New testing techniques are simple enough for the collection of the sample at home. In addition, improvement of customer empowerment and IT have combined to create new marketing opportunities for lab tests. Labs may follow the leads of the pharmaceutical industry by marketing and making products available to the customers directly.
It is up to the customers as of whether they want to bypass their physician to keep results off their records. A lot of these tests are organized by consumers. Hence, they don’t have an incentive of coverage to get these tests with their physician.
Lab Me Analytics – A New Benchmark in Lab Testing
Lab Me Analytics is one of the best examples of technological innovation in laboratory testing. You can track your blood work results in real time and interpret your lab results. It is a secure and effortless way because you just have to use the picture of your lab report and upload it to the system. You never need to wonder what those confusing letters and numbers mean. You can track and compare your CBC results in real time and understand results quickly. It uses effective machine intelligence technology to analyze, track and report the meaning of your blood work.
You also don’t have to worry about security. This technology uses military-grade encryption so your data is anonymous all the time. It uses advanced deep learning mechanism to interpret test results and you can have deep look at your blood work. You can understand your results quickly and easily despite any confusion or complexity. The expert team behind this application looks for patterns and anomalies in blood work with technologies to give unique benefits.
Harvard Disruptive Innovation Class of '18, MIT Sloan Business School Artificial Intelligence & Its Implications In Business.