By Kelly A. Briganti, Editorial Director, G2 Intelligence
A May survey of insured consumers (with self- or employer-sponsored insurance) reveals that many want to be able to monitor their health and wellness independently without getting a doctor’s order for blood testing. It also reveals how little consumers know about the new options out there for blood testing. HealthMine, a consumer health engagement company, conducted the survey with Survey Sampling International May 15-27, 2015, using an opt-in panel.
Of 1,200 participants surveyed, 76% said they wanted direct access to blood testing and 68% indicated they would get blood tests at least every six months if it was “convenient, less painful, and affordable.” A 2012 American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Position Paper attributed a rise in consumer involvement in their own health care to the increasing numbers of diabetes patients and availability of over-the-counter monitoring products.
Surprisingly, the HealthMine survey revealed most consumers are unaware, however, of the current possibilities for blood testing. Only 19% knew that in some cases a finger prick could be all that is needed and only 6% had heard of Theranos, which advertises blood testing that requires “smaller samples, smaller needles” including in some cases, only a finger prick and a few drops of blood. However, 58% and 47% of participants recognized the Quest and LabCorp names, respectively. The survey’s margin of error was reported to be 4%.
Participants were asked questions such as whether lab test results should be reported directly to the patient or through a doctor. Results indicate patients want direct access but recognize the value of a physician’s involvement: 21% of participants said they want results to come directly to them; 59% said results should be received both directly and through a doctor. Only 20% said results should only be released to doctors. Overwhelmingly, 91% of participants felt health insurance should pay for preventive and wellness related blood testing.
“Meaningful health data gives people power to better manage their health. We can make it easier to get meaningful data into people’s hands with blood tests that are dramatically more convenient, less invasive and less expensive than traditional methods,” said HealthMine CEO and President Bryce Williams in a press release announcing the survey results.