Clinical laboratory leaders aiming for patient-centered care and precision medicine outcomes need to acknowledge that patients do not want to be in hospitals or travel to physician offices and patient care centers for blood tests. It can be inconvenient, sometimes costly, and often painful.
That’s why disease management methods such as remote patient monitoring are appealing to many people. It’s a big market estimated to reach $1 billion by 2020, according to a Transparency Market Research Report. The study also associated popularity of devices such as heart rate and respiratory rate monitors with economic pressures of unnecessary hospital readmissions.
But can remote patient monitoring be used for more than to check heart rates, monitor blood glucose, and track activity levels? Could such technology be effectively leveraged by medical laboratories for remote blood sampling?
Microsampling versus Dried Blood Collecting
Remote patient monitoring must be able to address a large number of diseases and chronic health conditions for it to continue to expand and gain acceptance as a viable way to care for patients in different settings outside of hospitals. However, as most clinical pathologists and laboratory scientists know, clinical laboratory testing has an essential role in patient monitoring. Thus, there is the need for a way to collect blood and other relevant samples from patients in these remote settings.
One promising approach is the development of new microsampling technology that can overcome past obstacles of dried blood collection. Furthermore, microsampling-enabled devices can make it possible for medical laboratories to reach out to the homebound to secure accurate and volumetrically appropriate samples in a cost-effective manner.
“One well-established fact in today’s healthcare system is that an ever-greater proportion of patients want clinical care that is less invasive and less intrusive,” noted Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and The Dark Report. “Patients want to take more control over their treatment and be more effective at maintaining the stability of their chronic conditions, and often are happier than those who need to travel to have chronic conditions monitored. To meet this need there has been significant innovation, particularly in the area of remote blood sampling using microsampling technology.”
For decades, medical laboratories have tried various methods for acquiring and transporting blood samples from remote locations. One such non-invasive alternative to venipuncture is called dried blood spot (DBS) collecting. It involves placing a fingerprick of blood on filter paper and allowing it to dry prior to transport to the lab.
But DBS collected bio samples often do not contain enough hematocrit (volume percentage of red blood cells) for laboratories and clinical pathologists to provide accurate reports and interpretations. Reported reasons DBS cards have not penetrated a wide market include:
- Hematocrit bias or effect;
- Costly card punching and automation equipment; and,
- Possible disruption to existing lab workflows.
Microsampling Technology Enables Collection of Appropriate Samples
Microsampling has to have the capability to enable labs to deliver quality results from reliable blood samples. This remote sampling technology makes it possible for phlebotomists to offer a comfortable collection alternative for homebound patients and rural residents. It also can be useful for physicians stationed in remote areas. Patients themselves can even collect their own blood samples.
One company developing these types of products is Neoteryx, LLC, of Torrance, Calif. It develops, manufactures, and distributes microsampling products. Patients with the company’s Mitra device use a lancet to puncture their skin and draw a small amount of blood, collect it on the device’s absorptive tip, and then mail the samples to a blood lab for testing (Neoteryx does not perform testing).Advantages of Microsampling
Patient satisfaction survey data collected by Neoteryx suggest patients are comfortable with their role in blood collection:
- 70% are comfortable or very comfortable with the process;
- 86% say it is easy or very easy to use the Mitra device;
- 92% report it is easy to capture blood on the device’s tip;
- 55% of Mitra device users are likely or very likely to choose microsampling over traditional venipuncture; and,
- 93% noted they are likely or very likely to choose the device for child care.
A list of published studies describes certain advantages of VAMS technology that have implications for medical laboratories and clinical pathologists:
- Microsampling has benefits and implications for therapeutic drug monitoring, infectious disease research, and remote specimen collection;
- Dried blood microsamples from fingerstick can generate reliable data “correlating” to traditional blood collection processes;
- Bioanalytical data collected with the Mitra device are accurate and dependable; and,
- In a study for a panel of anti-epileptic drugs, VAMS led to optimized extraction efficiency above 86%, which means there was no hematocrit bias.
Learn More by Requesting the Dark Daily Microsampling White Paper
To help medical laboratories and clinical pathologists learn more about microsampling and VAMS devices, Dark Daily and The Dark Report have produced a white paper titled “How to Create a Patient-Centered Lab with Breakthrough Blood Collection Technology: Microsampling Takes Blood Collection Out of the Clinic.” The paper includes sections addressing these topics:
- Rise of patient-centered care and remote patient monitoring;
- Dried blood collection over the years and the hematocrit effect;
- A look at microsampling and how it takes blood collection out of the clinic;
- How Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS) technology works;
- Patient satisfaction data;
- Research about microsampling including extensive graphics;
- Launching new VAMS technology; and,
- Frequently asked questions.
Innovative medical laboratory leaders who want to increase their understanding of how microsampling technology and remote patient monitoring relates to the goal of becoming a patient-centered lab are encouraged to request a copy of the white paper. It can be downloaded at no cost by clicking here, or placing https://www.darkdaily.com/how-to-create-a-patient-centered-lab-with-breakthrough-blood-collection-technology-9-2018/ into your browser.
—Donna Marie Pocius