A positive story from Zina Moukheiber in Forbes (July 21, 2014) features innovator Elizabeth Holmes. She left Stanford to begin a company that only needs a micro-amount of blood for many types of tests. Her company, Theranos, has attracted capital from many areas, and no wonder. Transparency–prices for each test are posted online! No big needles. No big blood vials. It uses tech already convenient and familiar to access information about one’s own body (LINK TO APP PAGE). Fewer accidental needle-sticks. Less medical waste to deal with.
The centers are being installed in Walgreens. Certainly the procedure is less expensive than traditional methods and more convenient. This will disrupt the business model of Qwest and other big labs because the company posts its prices online. Same price for the uninsured or insured. Cleveland Clinic has partnered with Theranos:
A standard lipid panel, for example, costs $2.99 via Theranos, and can cost anywhere from $60 to hundreds of dollars, depending on where and when it’s performed.
Ms. Holmes 16-minute talk at TEDMED 2014 resonates with me. Click image to view.
Other news stories: Arizona Central (LINK) reports that lawmakers like this new method and concept. Blood tests without a doctor’s order? The profession will likely push back even though the global benefits are many. Their attractive website is worth a visit (LINK).
Since the VA is already using Walgreen’s for flu shots, the VA might be able to save money and time by using this disruptive and safer medical technology. A brilliant idea that should be widely adopted.
Update: I forgot to write that the HCV-antibody test at Theranos is only $9.81 for initial screening. Other panels are available.