Consumerism is on the rise in healthcare, and MyMedLab brings that trend to the Lab testing space. With their service users can self-order wellness lab exams online and walk-in to the lab nearest to their zip code. Note that this doesn’t include all possible lab tests, but only the subset that don’t require direct physician order.
The price they charge includes collection fee for sample draw, ordering physician fee (i.e. lab order approval, result review, consultation) and a Personal Health Record (where you can view and store the results, among other things). Users pay upfront for the tests and have the option to receive a receipt to submit for reimbursement from an insurance company or a health savings account.
There are several other players in this direct-to-consumer lab testing, like DirectLabs, HealthCheckUSA, MedLabUSA. The benefits of these services are tangible- lower cost (specially for the uninsured, who don’t want to pay for the visit to the doctor), convenience, speed and privacy.
But not everything is that straight-forward. Most insurance companies will not reimburse patients for tests that were not ordered by a physician, so the target market is restricted to people who are health-conscious and rich enough to pay for self-initiated disease monitoring. Jury is still out on many aspects- who approves these tests medically? Who carries the legal burden? Is it okay to let patients self-diagnose themselves? what about misinterpretation of results? IMHO, there is a market and advantage for direct-to-consumer lab testing, even if the healthcare system doesnt recognize or reimburse for it yet. Also, these services would look pretty good as applications on PHR platforms like Google Health.