"Lab Briefs"

Inverness Medical, ACON, LabInfotech, Kaiser Permenante

INVERNESS ACQUIRES TEST BUSINESS FROM ACON

WITH A STRATEGY OF BECOMING DOMINANT in the consumer testing market and point-of- care (POC) testing sector, Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc., of Waltham, Massachusetts, has actively acquired companies and technologies in these fields.

Its latest move was to pay $200 million to purchase the remaining parts of ACON that it did not own. Inverness will end up with ACON’s lateral flow immunoassay diagnostics kits designed for consumers, laboratories, and point-of-care applications. ACON, a diagnostics products company in San Diego, California, generated about $45 million in sales annually from this product line.

The acquired assets include tests sold within Inverness’ areas of infectious disease, cardiology, drugs of abuse, and women’s health. ACON will retain its other world- wide in vitro diagnostics businesses, including diabetes, clinical chemistry, and immunoassay products. The acquisition is expected to close by end April 30, 2009.

Inverness has used acquisitions as a path to growth. With annual revenue of $1.7 billion, it has become a sizeable enterprise by exploiting different market niches in diagnostic testing.

MAKING LAB DATA “LIQUID” FOR ALL USERS

OVER AT WWW.LABSOFTNEWS.COM, our friend and blogger Bruce Friedman, M.D. has identified another confirming example of the importance of laboratory test data.

Friedman, who is a Professor Emeritus of Pathology at University of Michigan Medical Center, recently had an expert in PHRs (patient health records) speak at his LabInfoTech conference in Las Vegas, Nevada last month. John Moore, who blogs for Chilmark, described his experience with PHR at Kaiser Permanente. Friedman quotes Moore thusly:

Friedman…asked me to update the audience on the PHR market and more broadly, what are the implications, either implied or explicit of trends in PHRs to pathology labs. It took me some time to think this one through, but finally a light-bulb went off in my head!

What are Kaiser Permanente (KP) members most enthralled with in how they use the KP PHR? It is getting their lab results quickly, online, and with background information on what those results mean to take appropriate action(s).

Then, if one were to look at RHIOs & HIEs, what types of data are the first to move within these exchanges? It was lab data and meds! Stepping into ER, what does an ER doc most want to see when a patient presents in ER? Labs, meds, and allergies. [I recognized that] the need to make lab data “liquid” was everywhere.

This “aha moment” led to the creation of a presentation,… that folds in our previous research on PHRs, more recent research on Cloud Computing in healthcare—some even more recent work on RHIOs and HIEs—with what all this means to the lab market.

Friedman perceptively picked up on Moore’s use of the term “liquid” to characterize the way laboratory test data needs to flow effortlessly to all authorized users, including the patient. THE DARK REPORT observes that Moore has another equally important insight. Kaiser Permanente, which is among the nation’s leaders in measuring patient satisfaction, has learned that patients place great value on having timely and complete access, not only to their laboratory test results, but to additional information about the clinical meaning of those results. Labs should act on these insights by enriching their laboratory informatics capabilities.

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