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Theranos “Punks” the Scientific Community In First Public Presentation at AACC

Posted on August 2, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Elizabeth Holmes made her first public appearance at #AACC2016 where most thought that she would address the concerns (I’m being nice) around the Theranos products and practices. While most believed that Holmes would not go into much detail, I didn’t see anyone predict that she would not only avoid the controversy, but she also decided to launch a new product. I use the phrase “new product” lightly since it’s similar to lab equipment on the market today, but smaller.

I think this image and tweet describes most people’s reaction to this bait and switch by Theranos and Holmes:
Theranos Punks AACC in First Public Appearance

It’s too bad she chose not to address the controversy before trying to sell another product. Are there any labs out there that will buy this new product until they do address the controversy? I’d hope not. Theranos will have to address it, but for some reason they’re putting it off.

This tweets seems to have captured the sentiment that most will likely feel about any product that Theranos tries to deliver:

How Will Quick Labs Change Healthcare?

Posted on September 23, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was struck by the news that HealthSpot was planning to bring the 7 minute blood test to their retail pharmacy clinics. For those not familiar with HealthSpot, they provide a kind of kiosk setup that allows for a telemedicine visit with a doctor. However, what makes them unique is that the kiosk is staffed by an MA who can assist the patient. Plus, the kiosk has a bunch of medical devices which the remote doctor can make available to the patient as part of their treating the patient.

While I find it fascinating that HealthSpot is taking this all to the next level with a 7 minute blood test, it also made me start to think about the impact of these quick lab tests on healthcare in general. We’re seeing much of this work pioneered by Theranos’ lab efforts. The HealthSpot announcement above seems to indicate that a whole wave of new quick labs are heading to the market.

We like to talk about the lab result workflow when it comes to EHR software. If you have an interface between your EHR and the lab, then the results can automatically appear in the EHR. Over the years I’ve heard a lot of debate and discussion around whether the lab results should be automatically shared with the patient or not. The arguments against sharing revolve around the patient misreading the diagnosis or the patient getting a bad result without a medical provider there to help them deal with the bad result and put it in context.

On the other side of the coin is the patients who say that it’s there data and they should have access to their data. Plus, they argue that waiting a few extra days for a normal result causes days of extra worrying while the patient waits for the doctor to get back to them with the normal result. The most common thinking is that normal results are fine to share in real time and the abnormal results are best delivered by someone to the patient. Of course, smart patients realize that if they don’t hear from the doctor soon, then it’s bad news which means the doctors have to stay on top of calling back even the abnormal results.

Now let’s reframe this discussion when it only takes 7 minutes to get the lab results. All of the above discussion doesn’t matter. The patient waits at the office for 7 minutes, the doctor has the results and can share the results with the patients immediately with the doctor present. No more phone tag. No more worrying while the patient waits for the results. No more issues with automatically sharing the results with the patients electronically. It’s really quite beautiful.

Of course, we won’t be able to do this for all lab results. Some lab results just take time. However, these quick labs are going to change a lot of things about how we interact with patients and that’s a good thing.

$10 Finger Stick Blood Tests Illustrate New Quantified Future

Posted on July 3, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve often talked about the variety of health sensors that are quantifying everything about us and how that’s going to change healthcare as we know it. As we have more information about ourselves, it’s impossible for us to keep doing the same things we’ve been doing. One of the challenges we’ve faced with this change is that we need access to the blood to really do quality testing. No one wants to do a venous blood draw to regularly monitor their health data.

This is why I’m so interested in what the quite secretive Theranos is doing with their finger stick blood tests. Yesterday, the big news hit that Theranos got their first FDA clearance for their herpes simplex 1 virus IgG test. Although, as MedCityNews notes, this is the first of 100 pre-submissions they have underway with the FDA.

This is exciting news, but this part of the MedCityNews article is even more exciting for me:

Its HSV-1 test costs $9.07 – one of 153 tests the company says it makes that cost less than $10.

This is a great price point for a lab test and we’d all benefit from this massive decrease in price. I’m still not sure Theranos should have a $9 billion valuation. They still have a long way to go with the FDA, but if they’re able to execute then maybe that valuation isn’t that crazy after all.

Regardless of how Theranos does as a business, I think we’re going to see hundreds of companies like Theranos that continue to make testing more affordable. That’s going to change how we approach healthcare.