Allow me to introduce you to Theranos, Theranos is a privately held company that is revolutionizing the way we do blood tests in America. They take only a small amount of blood, the quantity obtained from a finger prick, and use it to run multiple tests for a cost 50-90% less than the cost of medicare reimbursement rates*. All of this is done within a couple of hours at your local Walgreens!
*Vitamin D: Theranos $20.35 vs. Medicare $40.70
Theranos was started by Elizabeth Holmes in the fall of 2003 when she was a 19 year old sophomore at Stanford University. I love this quote from Fortune Magazine's article "This CEO is out for blood." When her professor asked her why she wanted to start a blood analytics company she replied "Because systems like this could completely revolutionize how effective health care is delivered. And this is what I want to do. I don't want to make incremental change in some technology in my life. I want to create a whole new technology, and one that is aimed at helping humanity at all levels regardless of geography or ethnicity or age or gender." Elizabeth Holmes is like the Steve Jobs of the health care field. She is also the youngest self-made woman billionaire on the Forbes 400 list.
But the money isn't what I am most impressed by. What I appreciate most is Elizabeth Holmes's vision for the future - where patients can purchase lab tests whenever they need them and gain access to actionable health information in a timely manner. She states in her TedMed talk that "Laboratory information drives 70-80% of medical decisions," but that "disease begins before signs and symptoms appear." There are many Americans who have pre-diabetes but don't even know it! When patients are able to engage with information about themselves, it can motivate them to make the diet and lifestyle changes needed to improve health. I su increased understanding and adherence. This is what personalized medicine is all about! Theranos may actually redefine the paradigm of diagnosis.
Unfortunately, Theranos Wellness Centers are currently only located in Palo Alto, CA and Pheonix, AZ according to the searchable map, but they claim that Theranos Wellness Centers will soon be located within Walgreens stores nationwide. I just sent an email to Theranos asking when they will reach the Washington, DC metro area. I will provide an update once I receive a reply.