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Validating a new era of diagnostics

There is no denying the fact that at-home blood collection was already popular. But in the wake of the pandemic, it seems to have become the only method.

The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented global public health challenge and will leave a permanent mark on the blood collection devices market. Both hospital and independent laboratories are reviewing each test to decide, whether to recommend consultations with laboratory hematologists for tests with a higher risk , or not offer tests, that could not be performed safely.

This impacted the market negatively in the first few months of the pandemic, reducing the need for blood collection devices. However, increasing caution and the rising testing volumes, along with the need for regular health and body checkups will ensure market growth in a later phase.

Results now take an average of four to six days for the general patients, much longer than the two to three days required before. This is because tests for hospital patients and symptomatic healthcare workers are prioritized and take one day on average, which has resulted in a delayed cycle. While it has affected market growth to some extent, the situation is expected to change for the better.

The global blood collection devices market is projected to reach USD 6.4 billion by 2025 from USD 4.8 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 6 percent between 2020 and 2025, predicts MarketsandMarkets.

Based on product, the blood collection devices market is segmented into blood collection tubes, blood collection needles/holders, blood collection set, and others. The blood collection needles/holders segment held the largest share of the market in 2020 and it is expected to continue its dominance.

Increasing incidence of infectious diseases, the rising number of accidents and trauma cases, the emergence of liquid biopsy tests, and a demand for blood donations and blood components are driving the market.

Recent advancements in blood collection systems like blood drawn by venipuncture, pivo device, micro sampling technology, and so on are set to drive the adoption of capillary blood collection devices in the medical industry.

Micro sampling technology enables the collection of very tiny amounts of blood that are enough to evaluate the biochemistry parameters of blood with an accurate and precise collection of a fixed volume of blood while eliminating bias posed by dried blood spotting hematocrit analysis.

Makers of new blood collection devices are rethinking needles and venipuncture and opening an exciting frontier of blood collection product design that can replace traditional venipunctures at medical laboratories and can collect 150 microliters of blood, enough to test for cholesterol, blood sugar, cancer cells, infections, and other ailments.

The burden of chronic diseases is rapidly increasing worldwide. Almost half of the total chronic disease deaths are attributable to cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the US alone, as per the American Heart Association, the prevalence of CVD is projected to increase from 36.9 percent in 2010 to 38.7 percent by 2020 and 40.5 percent by 2030.

Obesity and diabetes are also showing worrying trends, not only because they already affect a large proportion of the population but also because they have started to appear earlier in life. The prevalence of lifestyle diseases is also growing across the globe, and particularly in emerging countries.

This scenario has ensured greater adherence to health checkups and the growing importance of markers to find disease conditions mainly via blood collection.

Health checkups are gaining popularity both at a personal level as well as performed at a corporate level for employee well-being. This will be favorable for the market growth and a significant contributor to the blood collection devices market, as blood tests are a primary mode of diagnosing these diseases.

For blood banks, capital investments in automated blood collection using apheresis devices are very high in comparison to that of whole-blood collection. Owing to their high costs, the adoption of these automated blood collection products is very low as compared to manual blood collection products in countries such as China and India. This is limiting the overall growth of the blood collection devices market.

Storing and shipping whole blood samples poses significant challenges and costs. Once collected, whole blood must be used immediately or stored and maintained under strict temperature and environmental conditions for analysis or other applications.

The characteristics of blood samples begin to change within hours of collection if not refrigerated or frozen. Maintaining their stability is essential since blood components begin to degrade immediately; extended exposure to ambient temperatures can dramatically affect the outcome of any analysis on such samples. Therefore, medical organizations around the world have created guidelines for their storage, packaging, and shipping.

For example, the USFDA recommends that whole blood samples held in specialized containers should only be kept refrigerated for 42 days.

However, it is recognized that some changes in the samples may occur during that time. Another governing body, the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Finland, determined that whole blood samples refrigerated at 4°C (or about 39°F) should only be held for up to seven days before discarding.

Collecting blood samples from patients with difficult venous access (DVA) is challenging or sometimes impossible. In DVA patients, traditionally used blood collection products are often unable to collect adequate samples, which can also lead to repeated attempts to collect blood. This increases the risk of anemia in patients and the risk of transmission of blood-borne pathogens to nurses and phlebotomists.

To overcome this issue, innovative hematology-tube designs have been introduced to support capillary-blood collection for reducing the risks of collection and processing errors in DVA patients. Besides this, a vein illumination and visualization technique—vein finder, a recent addition to safe blood collection procedures—is used to assist healthcare professionals in finding a good vein for venipuncture. The device illuminates the veins beneath the skin using ultrasound or infrared technology and facilitates easy vein access, thus reducing the need for repeated venipuncture.

There is a growing trend toward innovations in blood collection. Two firms won US FDA 510(k) clearances for blood collection devices recently—a push-button device from Seventh Sense called TAP, and a needle-free device from Velano Vascular called Pivo. Meanwhile, other firms, such as Neoteryx, are pursuing microsampling of blood but focusing on dried blood spots.

Some of the key players include Abbott, Medtronic, BD, Terumo Corporation, Haematonics, Nipro, Qiagen, Medical s.r.l., Terumo BCT, INC., Fresenius Kabi AG, Grifols, S.A, Micsafe SARSTEDT AG & Co. KG, Retractable Technologies, Inc., FL Medical s.r.l. Unipersonale and AB Medical Academy among other domestic and global players.

In early 2020, communities around the globe saw normal way of life disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. As the COVID-19 crisis escalated, public health experts advised social distancing, and governments limited group interactions through enforced stay at home orders to prevent cross-contamination. The order of the day has become reducing the number of COVID-19 infections in every country on the planet. Public activities are still being discouraged worldwide in an effort to level the curve.

Quite a few years ago, patients hesitated at typing home visit doctor near me on Google. Although the concept of an at-home doctor’s visit is hardly new, patients seldom knew the contribution of a search engine in finding the right doctor for the therapy of the ailment.

This was about medical home visits. But amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, did people think that the concept of at-home blood tests would be so popular? There is no denying the fact that at-home blood collection was already there. But in the wake of the pandemic, the concept has gained complete relevance.

The massive contribution of telehealth technologies like remote devices and wireless heart monitors enables physicians to conduct patient monitoring remotely. This way, ordering blood tests can become way too simple. Patients have full access to the medical physician and video chat platforms.

At-home blood collection supports safety for healthcare providers as well as both patients. As a matter of fact, patients do not require visiting the clinic for blood collection or testing. Rather than doing so, collection kits are mailed to the patient, and they mail back the samples in the envelope to that lab.

The approach for remote blood collection is patient-centric. Only a couple of healthcare organizations are sending phlebotomists to the homes of patients to provide lab services, if and when required.

The best digital diagnostic centers make the right use of advancing technologies that involve collecting small and volumetrically exact blood samples on the device’s absorbent tip. This technique can improve the patient experience as it is easier to use.

Besides, it happens to be less stressful and painful than other options. Patients can even collect accurate blood samples remotely (at home) and minimize the visits’ number required for healthcare follow-ups. Even during the aftermath of the pandemic, methodical and clinical trials are getting implemented as an integral part of the research. With that, remote sampling will offer the convenience of collecting the required samples from the trial volunteers that are unable to visit trial centers.

If labs, clinics, and other medical organizations transition to at-home or remote diagnostic services, why would they at all require investing in drastic measures for their business? This is probably the most important reason physicians are using telehealth technologies to simplify the working process of labs.

With the shift in remote collection devices, all that’s becoming center-stage attention in the medical universe is revolutionary technologies’ predominance. Hopefully, remote blood collection is going to implement more advanced technologies in the coming days.

Labs that offer remote blood collection services will help move telemedicine and patient-centered care forward in a post-coronavirus world. Labs and care facilities that offer at-home blood collection are expected to become more popular in the coming months.

When a full blood panel is needed, some facilities may also offer home health visits from a phlebotomist to perform a venipuncture blood draw. However, when this is not required, patient-managed remote blood collection will enable virtual care consults by phone, video, and email.

Labs working in collaboration with care providers can perform rapid testing and deliver timely lab results. Embracing the telehealth trend through remote specimen processing will help more labs stay ahead of the curve as the world fight to level the curve.

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