Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Original December 2014 Theranos Blog Lead Paragraphs

These were the original December 2014 lead paragraphs of a blog which is an index of Theranos web articles - the whole blog (as updated through 2016) is here.

On December 17, 2014, Pathology  Blawg (here) ran a summary of a recent New Yorker profile (here) of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos.  Here I provide a reference to those two interesting though contrasting pieces, and some additional context.

Theranos is a venture-funded ($400M) California startup that aims to bring about substantial changes in how routine clinical chemistry tests are provided.   (Company website here, Wikipedia here.)   Their business system include process (patented Nanotainers for fingerstick blood droplets, and microchemistry for analysis), service (long open hours on a seven day basis at Walgreens clinics), cost (10-50% of current Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedules) and data management (patient-accessible and net-accessible records integrated with your doctor's EMR.)   

In reading this, I recalled a panel I was on in 2009 with Michael Rawlins, then the head of NICE in the U.K. (National Institute for Clinical Excellence).  He was surprised to learn that in the U.S., a simple lab test such as cholesterol could not be obtained in a pharmacy but had to be routed through a physician.   Later, in recent years, I've had the chance to work on projects in point of care testing, a field which shares some of the goals with Theranos.   I've tracked Theranos off and on since an "early" Wall Street Journal article in 2013.  Here, I've collated a sampling of journalism about the company from 2006 through 2015.