A Wall Street Journal article reports on direct-to-consumer medical tests you can order from the web.
Cheryl Lassiter likes to keep a close eye on her cholesterol levels, but with a high-deductible insurance plan, she doesn't want to pay the fees for repeated checkups by her doctor. So a few times a year, she orders up a lab test herself, using an online service that charges about $40.
"You cut out the middleman," says Ms. Lassiter, 56, a writer who lives in Hampton, N.H.
Want to try different diets and exercise regimens and monitor your progress in improving your blood cholesterol, lipids, and other indicators? Ordering your own blood tests is one way to do it. This article has useful links to sites for interpreting blood test results such as vitamin D blood tests, liver enzyme tests (drinking too much?), blood lipids, and thyroid-stimulating hormone.
While the online genetic testing services such as 23AndMe get a fair amount of press multiple online general medical testing services offering direct-to-consumer testing are doing business with less notice. Well, my advice: notice them!
The online testing services, which include companies such as Direct Laboratory Services Inc., Health One Inc., PrivateMD Labs LLC and Personalabs LLC, typically don't own labs themselves. Instead, they allow consumers to order tests online, then direct them to a lab that contracts with the firm, such as Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings. The lab draws the patient's blood and performs the actual test. To meet state requirements, the Web firms generally have doctors on staff who sign the orders without seeing the patients.
I like the idea of direct lower cost services. You can opt for a high deductible medical insurance policy for lower cost and direct your own routine care. Or if you live in a country with government-provided but rationed care you can try to work around it by ordering your own tests. You can even buy your own home CardioChek cholesterol meter. Still a long way from Dr. McCoy's medical tricorder. But a step in that direction.
In a previous post about lengthening medical care queues commenter Jake describes medical tests he orders for himself, his costs, and how he uses the results. He calls this practicing Medicine 2.0. Next we need online expert systems to help us sort thru our symptoms and advise us on our health needs. Beware that some government agencies question our ability to handle the truth and get our own testing done.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2011 January 11 09:59 PM Biotech Assay Services|