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Diagnostics, Meet Consumerism

Executive Summary

A few years ago, Quest Diagnostics, the nation's largest reference lab, began a pilot program offering direct access testing (DAT) in a few locations in the South and West. In DAT, the premise is that consumers are willing to pay out of pocket to obtain accurate, timely information about their health-and that laboratory tests are much less expensive than some of the other health services that are offered to the general public and not reimbursed. Recently, The American Association for Clinical Chemistry held an audioconference on DAT. Speaker Lawrence Killingsworth, PhD, the chief science and technical officer at the Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, WA, spelled out the process of transforming a physician-oriented laboratory testing service into one geared towards consumers, in essence building a retail health care business.

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