A Thousand Points of Care
Careside is betting that its newly launched blood testing system will succeed where others have failed by offering a broad platform of routine, high-volume tests at the point of care. The rationale is that decentralizing routine diagnostic testing by moving it away from the central lab setting will improve patient outcomes at an equivalent or lower cost--a claim other companies have been unable to substantiate. Further, competitors like i-Stat and Diametrics argue that the need is for time-critical urgent care tests--blood gases and cardiac markers--and not the routine chemistries that comprise a substantial portion of Careside's menu. And convincing group medical practices--the initial target of Careside's marketing efforts--to set up lab operations on the premises, which entails ongoing inspections to meet regulatory requirements, is a difficult sell. Thus, an important component of the company's marketing strategy is to assist customers in the process. What Careside has going for it is an experienced management team and its use of a mature technology well known to end users, which appears to be giving it good credibility with potential customers. The key to its success may well be its ability to add immunoassays to its already substantial menu of basic chemistries, electrochemistries, coagulation tests, and hematology tests (the latter via a companion instrument). Immunoassays would broaden the platform beyond general 'wellness' testing, giving physicians a tool for disease-specific diagnoses and help with reimbursement.
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