For those that have not been keeping up with the Theranos saga, here is a summary. Prior to the last year, a diagnostics company based in Northern California quietly grew to a value of nine billion dollars on one major premise: they could perform most common blood tests with a fraction of the blood of usual tests, and therefore could obtain this blood much more simply than a traditional drawing of a blood sample. Because of simpler collection, volumes, and analysis, they were going to decrease costs of testing. Furthermore, they were going to allow consumers to access these blood tests at retail sites. All in all, Theranos was supposed to displace blood testing as we know it.
Then the rumors started. As Theranos started piloting retail sites, some customers anecdotally reported their blood having to be drawn through traditional methods. Some said their results were not consistent with results from previous or recent tests. Some even ran tests of getting their blood drawn at a Theranos location and a regular lab, with results being wildly different.
Then it all came crashing. Rumors turned to investigation. Increasing numbers of articles were published questioning Theranos’s technology, making it increasingly difficult for Theranos to maintain its relative secrecy in the name of security. As more information became available, the more concerns existed, until it finally became clear that Theranos was not as disruptive as many had thought they would be. Now, Theranos is under criminal investigation, and had to make invalid two years of results.
For the diagnostics industry, this saga has had several effects. First, it has increased discussion around diagnostic tests being available to the consumer. While some feel that a physician needs to permit availability and the interpretation of all blood tests, most agree that just like individuals now can track their heart rate, sleep, activity, and for some even blood sugar, they should be allowed to track their blood.
Also, the Theranos downfall has increased questions on the accuracy of diagnostic testing, especially with regards to diagnostic testing that is available to the consumer and with small volumes of blood.
At EverlyWell, we are fortunate to be partnered with several labs that have existed for many years and performed millions of tests. Not only are our tests CLIA/CMS or FDA approved, all results reviewed by a physician and our labs have performed extensive correlation testing with openly available data. This means they have conducted numerous tests comparing their process to the traditional blood draw and analysis. Nearly all of our tests demonstrate a 98-99% correlation to traditional testing!
In fact, some of our tests are actually considered even more accurate than blood! For example, certain hormones are better tested in saliva because that measures the active or functional aspect of a hormone. In addition, our partner lab that tests LDL, or the “bad” cholesterol, measures it directly while most labs just calculate it based off other aspects of the lipid panel.
Our central mission is to allow access testing that drives positive changes in your life to make you healthier, and now can you do that by accurately knowing where you stand.