Diagnostics as Service– A Game-Changer for Telehealth?

During the height of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth experienced a meteoric rise. It quickly became necessary to evaluate patients without breaking quarantine. Since then, the healthcare industry has recognized the advantages telemedicine provides to providers and patients.

One such benefit is the comfort and convenience of remote consultative care. However, there’s always been an area that even telehealth providers have struggled to tackle: diagnostic testing. That’s changing.

Healthcare providers, especially within the telehealth space, are beginning to replace their traditional means of diagnostic testing–which traditionally takes place in-person at clinics–with at-home diagnostic testing.

To make this transition easier, many have chosen not to build out their own at-home diagnostics capability, as it requires huge amounts of time and upfront investment in the tens of millions. As a result, healthcare organisations are turning to dedicated businesses that provide diagnostic offerings as a service (DaaS).

At-home diagnostics is the latest in patient-centric, point-of-care telemedicine innovations. It reimagines the traditional diagnostic testing model and in the process increases process efficiency, patient reach, and overall care outcomes. Industry experts are citing it as the next frontier in telehealth.

But what is diagnostics as a service? What does it mean, how does it work, and why is it important? Let’s explore.

Defining Diagnostics as a Service

Diagnostic testing in telehealth

We’re all familiar with the traditional process of diagnostic testing. The doctor orders a test, often sending a request to an external laboratory outside of the provider’s digital ecosystem. It’s up to the patient to schedule the necessary testing and arrange transportation to the office or lab. The lab will send the results to the provider, but the patient will lack visibility until their doctor shares them. Results can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, as they’re coming from an external network.

The whole process is notoriously slow and frustrating for all parties involved. Patients face a variety of obstacles when it comes to scheduling testing: work, lack of childcare, medical risk, and lack of transportation are all major barriers. As a result, industry experts estimate that up to 30% of all ordered tests go unfulfilled. Diagnostics as a service seeks to change that.

Lab testing has been untouched by the automation and digitalization of the recent decades– until recently. Thanks to the rise of telehealth, patients are becoming more comfortable with direct access care and testing. In fact, many have come to expect the convenience of telemedicine to be extended to almost every viable aspect of healthcare.

Diagnostics as a service (DaaS) provides direct access to patient testing. Instead of the traditional modality, at-home diagnostics sends testing kits (or phlebotomists) to the patient’s residence. This eliminates the main barriers to testing and subsequently increases patient access– among other benefits.

The Many Benefits of At-Home Diagnostics

In addition to removing obstacles for patients, at-home diagnostics can simplify the testing process for providers as well. Most companies that offer at-home diagnostic testing integrate with the client’s platforms.

This means doctors can order necessary assessments, send the necessary materials directly to their patient, and receive the results– all without having to leave their practice’s platform of choice. Automation and digitization have arrived in a big way, creating a vastly more efficient process.

Integrations streamline the testing process and give greater visibility to both physicians and patients. Results can be automatically shared and offer consumers increased transparency and control over their medical data.

DaaS companies also offer implementation to smaller telehealth companies that otherwise wouldn’t have access to diagnostic services. Building a lab network and diagnostic program from scratch can take years and cost millions of dollars. Organisations that specialise in at-home diagnostics have already built out lab networks, satisfied all regulatory requirements, and created the infrastructure necessary to provide necessary health assessments.

As a result, providers can find the diagnostic service provider that satisfies their testing needs and plug directly into a pre-built network of labs and testing specialists.

The Future of Healthcare

The future of diagnostics

The increased focus on direct access and point-of-care testing marks a rapidly evolving trend within the entire healthcare space. Patients are increasingly empowered to prioritise their own needs, convenience, and take full ownership of their health information. Telemedicine allows for easy access to healthcare professionals; at-home diagnostics makes patients active participants in their own testing.

In a time where consumer data is increasingly up for sale and medical mistrust is at a record high, centering patient convenience and choice will only become more vital. Making diagnostics more accessible and demystifying the collection process for patients can increase comfort. Easy flow of data from provider, to insurer, to patient keeps all parties sufficiently informed and gives consumers full visibility of their healthcare data.

In order to keep up with patient expectations, healthcare organisations need to prepare for a self-service modality to become the new norm. Diagnostics as a service will be a key aspect of this point-of-care model, so it’s vital that telehealth and healthcare providers of all kinds begin preparations now.

About Chronomics

Chronomics’s platform enables providers to seamlessly implement at-home diagnostics at scale– all without sacrificing efficiency or accuracy. Integrate test ordering and results into your current digital ecosystem, distribute tests directly to your patients, and gain access to a robust network of accredited labs within weeks.

To learn more about how diagnostics as a service can benefit your practice, browse our website.