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By: Dr. Dennis Poland, European specialist in Laboratory Medicine 

The COVID19 pandemic drastically changed the way at home medical care is handled throughout the world. As of 2019, the telemedicine global market was valued at some 50 billion U.S. dollars. In 2020 that number grew dramatically with the global market forecasted to reach 460 billion U.S. dollars by 2030. More telemedicine means more at home testing, including Phlebotomy.  

Phlebotomy or blood collection is based on the invention of the vacuum tube more than 70 years ago. At that time there was a need for several milliliters while today only microliters of blood are needed to perform the same tests. Microliters of blood can easily be collected via a capillary blood collection, e.g., a prick of the finger, heel or other capillary collection site, which can easily be completed at home.   

There are still challenges of home-based collection, such as with patient instructions, transport of the sample to the lab and monitoring of the transport condition throughout its journey to the

lab. In fact, pre-analytical errors account for up to 70% of all mistakes made in laboratory diagnostics, most of which arise from problems in patient errors, transportation, and storage. (Plebani M. (2012). Quality indicators to detect pre-analytical errors in laboratory testing. The Clinical biochemist. Reviews, 33(3), 85–88.)

According to the ISO 15189 quality management system for medical laboratories, the temperature of blood during transport needs to be stabilized and monitored. Many countries worldwide have a medical post system that can be used to send blood or other body materials for laboratory diagnostic purposes. 

 With telemedicine on the rise, it is imperative that companies invest in the pre-analytical phase of the journey. By using specific packaging material, it is possible to protect the sample from temperature influences along with providing clear instructions to the patient on the collection process. Patient experience and analytical accuracy must be the top priorities in telemedical sample collection.

 

 

"Pre-analytical errors

account for up

to 70% of all

mistakes made in

laboratory diagnostics,

most of which

arise from problems

in patient errors,

transportation,

and storage."

Patient instructions, transport of the sample to the lab and monitoring of the transport condition throughout its journey to the lab.

By using specific packaging material, it is possible to protect the sample from temperature influences along with providing clear instructions to the patient on the collection process. 

Microliters of blood can easily be collected via a capillary blood collection, e.g., a prick of the finger, heel or other capillary collection site, which can easily be completed at home.   

“Varcode makes it possible to monitor the temperature during transport in an easy and low-cost way that can be completely automated in the laboratory information system (LIS). The Smart Tag™ can be activated by the patient by simply removing a start tab. Once arrived at the lab, the Smart Tag™ is scanned by the laboratory technician. The temperature information is digitally recorded and is transferred to the LIS. In a period of 2 years, we have received more than 15,000 home collected blood samples that were temperature monitored by Varcode.”

Dr. Dennis Poland, European specialist in Laboratory Medicine 

 

Dennis Poland (1970) studied biochemistry and completed his PhD (2002) on glycobiology at the University of Amsterdam. He was resident in clinical chemistry at the Leiden University Medical Center (2003-2007). Between 2007 and 2016 he worked as a clinical chemist in a GP lab and a hospital lab in Amsterdam. In 2015 he founded the biotech company Labonovum and developed several blood, urine and saliva collection devices.

linkedin.com/in/dennis-poland-422904224

 

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