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Direct patient access to routine tests on rise

Jan. 27, 2016—Revenues for routine direct-to-consumer laboratory tests were estimated to be worth $33.1 million in 2015, according to Kalorama Information. The market research firm said that routine DTC laboratory testing is expected to grow by an average 30 percent annually over the next five years. The aging population, uninsured patients, disease monitoring, and treatment monitoring will be key factors for growth.

“It’s a small but noteworthy market trend. This market was about $8 million five years ago, and increasingly—as consumers desire to know more about their own health care and push back on waiting room times and co-pay fees—it has grown,” Kalorama Information publisher Bruce Carlson said in a statement.

Some of the most commonly ordered routine laboratory tests are CBC with differential, comprehensive metabolic panel, lipid panel, prothrombin time, and TSH. Kalorama says that HealthCheckUSA, Any Lab Test Now, and Walk-in Lab are among the companies offering testing services to consumers. But the large testing firms are also involved and, in some cases, perform the tests for the smaller outlets as well as offer their own online services. LabCorp has partnered with Walk-In Lab to provide blood test services across the country. Quest offers Blueprint for Wellness Direct Pay for consumers to monitor their personal health and wellness. The tests can be ordered directly online without a physician’s order.

Patient direct pay is the most common payment structure for DTC lab testing. Kalorama Information says that, mainly, this targets uninsured patients and patients who want to have a certain test done but their physician will not order it. The direct-to-consumer laboratory testing market is largely driven by the 32 million people who remain uninsured despite the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

“Most patients will still see a doctor who will order lab tests, but this model will grow and is not going away anytime soon,” Carlson said.

The findings were drawn from Kalorama Information’s report, “The Market for Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing and Routine Laboratory Testing,” published Jan. 1.

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