New report determines in-home patient care can save an average of 22% over inpatient care for six different health conditions
Momentum continues to build in favor of the “Hospital in the Home”, known by the acronym HITH. For certain health conditions, this care model allows the patient to remain in his or her home, instead of staying in a hospital. Caregivers, including specialist physicians, come to the residence with almost the same frequency as occurs for hospital inpatients.
Wider adoption of this model of patient care would directly affect pathologists and clinical laboratory managers who work in hospital laboratories. Over time, it could mean fewer inpatient admissions and thus, less medical laboratory test volumes for inpatient services. On the other hand, more HITH patients would increase the need to collect specimens in patient’s homes and get them to a local clinical laboratory for testing. Hospital-based medical laboratories—because they are central to the communities they serve—would be well-positioned to provide this diagnostic testing.
With $175 Million in Funding, Human Microbiome Project is Making Rapid Progress
Research into the human microbiome is expected to trigger development of new diagnostic tests that will be offered by clinical pathology laboratories. That’s because the organisms that live on us and in us are as unique to individuals as their DNA, and scientists believe these microbes may be just as important to health. Which microbes and how much they matter to the host’s health are the questions a consortium of researchers involved in the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) hope to answer.
This five-year, $157-million project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will sequence and classify 900 microbes believed to play a role in human health. Analysis of the sequences of the first 178 microbes, which was published in the May 21 issue of Science, held some surprises, particularly in regard to the extent and complexity of microbial diversity. About 90% of their DNA was previously unknown. The study also identified novel genes and proteins that contribute to human health and disease.
Up to 400 times more sensitive than existing ELISA-based methods
Detecting any of seven cancers in their earliest stages may be feasible through the use of a new biomarker chip that was recently unveiled by scientists from Stanford University’s Center for Magnetic Nanotechnology. To give their biomarker chip increased sensitivity over fluorescent detection methods, the scientists use magnetic technologies to accomplish detection.
Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), lead scientist Shan X. Wang, Ph.D., director of the center and professor of materials science and electrical engineering, says the chip is able to detect very low levels of seven cancers. The biodetection chip is to be marketed by Silicon Valley startup MagArray Inc., of Sunnyvale, California. It detects multiple proteins in blood or DNA strands using magnetic technology similar to how a computer reads a hard drive. Developers say this chip could also be used to diagnose cardiovascular disease and monitor cancer therapy.