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Diagnostic testing needs to be used in an optimal way

The healthcare industry has had a complete transformation last year and 2021 will see it emerge a transformed industry. The impact will be seen in many aspects namely the policies, ecosystems, and most obviously on healthcare provider organizations. COVID-19 has shifted the business priorities of healthcare providers and how these organizations invest and use technology. There will be another reset in 2021. However, given the immense impact of the pandemic, it would be near-impossible to restrict the prediction to only one year.

Not all is gloom and doom however and there will be new opportunities for innovators and enterprises in innovations and supply chains. COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted current standards of care for chronic diseases worldwide. Frequency and necessity of patient visits to hospitals and clinics for routine checkups and minor interventions have seen a sea change. The MedTech, which can use and synergize with the evolving technology will be the road to future as post COVID times the need for isolation and tele-pathology has driven the diagnostics market.

We as healthcare providers in diagnostics industry would like to leverage this amalgamation of technology and consultation so as to be an end to end provider for population for their healthcare needs.

2020 taught us one very important lesson in terms of logistics of sample transportation and also the need to have regional labs with end to end solutions for population in a given radius. The disruption in logistics chain disruption during the lockdown has created a need to have a labs being able to process almost 90 percent of the sample load so as to become a preferred partner for clinicians. So the need to enhance the labs capacity and introduce more high-end and routine tests locally will be the focus this year as we cannot just rely on hub and spoke model of networked labs for testing high-end/rare testing. The labs need to be ready to be able to start any tests with minimal time required for ordering, validating and taking approvals for new tests which can be done if the technology/instruments are already available.

The future of diagnostic testing in cancer treatment is bright, as medicine transitions to liquid biopsies where clinicians can detect cancer biomarkers in the blood—or other bodily fluids—before making therapeutic decisions. As liquid biopsies come of age, benefits will become more obvious. While liquid biopsy is still an unproven technology, experts believe that it will deliver more representative views of entire cancers.

Diagnostic testing needs to be used in an optimal way in order to fully unlock its value. Optimization of a test may involve a number of factors such as quality, process and test performance, which may impact different tests in different ways. These factors may include:

Questions about test quality. Physicians may be unconvinced of the quality of test results. Labs may lose samples or ask for larger samples. Two-to-five percent of lab results are returned with the notation QNS, meaning quantity not sufficient. This translates into a demand for retesting.

Sample availability. Physicians may not be willing to bring a patient in for a second sampling.
Test availability. The majority of labs are concentrated in large urban centers. However, test availability also depends on the test’s technical features.

Test turnaround time. Labs with exclusives on tests can apply economies of scale and ensure test quality. However, they sometimes struggle with bottlenecks that delay test results and treatment decision making. If a clinician needs to treat a patient within three-to-four days, but gets results back in 13 days, the patient will suffer the consequences.


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