The evolution of direct-to-consumer testing, also known as direct access testing, patient-initiated testing, and consumer-directed testing, has reached a pinnacle as record numbers of consumers are taking control of their own lab testing. Patients in large numbers are adopting a self-service healthcare approach to this personal style of healthcare.
The popularity of direct-to-consumer testing (DTC) has grown significantly in just the past few years. What’s more, it is estimated that the global DTC lab services will double during the next few years from a reported 1.4 billion in 2020 to 2.4 billion by 2025.
As health and wellness companies are responding to this trend of consumer-initiated testing, there are important regulatory, legal, and clinical considerations that everyone in the medical field should take into account to guarantee a safe and compliant lab service offering.
Direct to Consumer Blood Testing
Direct access means the removal of the physician referral mandated by state law to access blood tests. Instead of the conventional process that involves a clinician ordering a test for a patient, individuals in certain states – including here in Washington State – are able to purchase a lab test directly from a digital health or laboratory company online. Consumers pay for the blood test upfront.
The global Covid-19 pandemic, which began back in March of 2020, has accelerated the acceptance of virtual care. More recently, as the demand for personal Covid testing has grown, at-home testing has become the norm in many people’s lives with the availability of Covid test kits.
Now-a-days, consumers have access to many testing kits for general wellness, men’s and women’s health, food or allergen sensitivities, and STIs. In Washington State, direct-to-consumer testing is completely legal and open to anyone with no restrictions.
Direct marketing of this personal form of lab testing has become extremely popular due to the following factors:
Rapid turnaround time
Ownership of health data and other information
Privacy or stigma
Early disease detection
Self-empowerment in managing health
Reasons Why Direct to Consumer Testing is Gaining Popularity
Accessibility of DTC Testing
It’s not always possible or easy for people to gain access to medical blood tests, especially if they live in rural or remote areas. They may have to travel a long distance to have their specimen collected for a clinical test. However, DTC tests are available to everyone, regardless of where they live. Consumers can find labs that offer these DTC tests in their communities, including in the Tri-Cities at Tomorrow’s Health.
Easy to Order Blood Tests
With DTC tests, you can order them from home. This makes for easy and convenient testing. By ordering a test in this way, the patient avoids the possibility of enduring the shame and stigma that is associated with certain types of tests. Also, these tests are performed in complete privacy.
Consumers pay the laboratories directly, with absolves these labs from having to contend with insurance companies, which can slow the medical delivery process down. There is no complicated billing process with direct billing. Because of the ease of payments and the potential profit margin, labs are motivated to offer DTCs.
Ideally, we should all be very knowledgeable and aware of our own health status. Unfortunately, some people avoid getting blood tests because they are hesitant to visit a doctor. There are some DTC tests, such as fitness-based genomics tests that provide metabolic status, diet, and fitness-based recommendations. These types of DTC tests offer health awareness to all people who take advantage of them.
Receive Medical Treatment Faster
Direct access restrictions cause unnecessary delays for people who would benefit from treatment for a wide variety of medical diseases and illnesses. Delays in care result in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients seeking medical treatment. Eliminating arbitrary barriers results in timely, more effective care. DTC tests clear the way for consumers to obtain their blood labs in a timely fashion so they can receive the appropriate medical care.
In Vitro Diagnostic Tests (IVD)
IVDs are clinical tests that evaluate samples such as blood, urine, or saliva to diagnose medical conditions, inform treatment decisions, or prevent or lessen the impact of diseases in the future. IVDs also measure the presence of specific substances, the absence of specific markers, or an immune response to an infection.
Tomorrow’s Health Provides Cutting Edge Laboratory Testing Capabilities
Tomorrow’s Health was started in 2013 to fill a need in the Tri-Cities for blood testing, Covid-19 testing, and genome testing. We are very excited to bring this advanced technology to the local area, providing superior diagnostic lab testing that will aid our local healthcare providers in providing life-saving care to all members of our great community!
In response to the current Covid-19 pandemic that is gripping the entire world, Tomorrow’s Health is responding to the call for increased lab capacity by providing Covid-19, Influenza A/B and comprehensive respiratory pathogen testing using state-of-the-art technology.
In company with Covid-19 testing, we offer a wide menu of laboratory tests, including thyroid function, reproductive health, comprehensive metabolic panel, complete blood count, lipid panel, hormone panel, various cancer screenings, and much more!