Consumers are Ripe, Low-hanging Fruit!

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ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT MY JOB as publisher emeritus of THE DARK REPORT is that I get time to think about the global implications of new developments in the laboratory industry. Unlike most of you, harried by the never-ending demands of your work day, I am at the tail end of my useful business career. That means few distractions and plenty of time to reflect upon how the business intelligence presented by THE DARK REPORT can help you change your laboratory for the better.

With that introduction, I want to call your attention to the interview with Caresoft, Inc. President and CEO Jagjot (JJ) Singh, found here. His company is first to offer a credible, secure source for patients to access and view their personal laboratory test results. Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is the first major lab company to use Caresoft’s Web site, called mydailyapple.com, as the communication vehicle between it and its patients. This accomplishment alone is a significant and important event for the entire laboratory industry. It opens the door to a new era of laboratory-patient relationships.

But what I consider particularly significant is the findings of three credible Internet surveys, reported by our editor in this article. Simply said, consumers ranked Web access to their personal lab test results as about the single most valuable health service they could get on the Internet, by a margin of as much as 80%! However, the next fact is what excited me. One of these Internet surveys reports that 25% of the people responding would be “willing to pay $5 per month to access their personal lab test results on the Internet.” Wow! That means labs can have a brand new profit center, if they will invest some time and effort to establish the services that their patients tell pollsters they want.

Talk about ripe and low-hanging fruit! Our lab test consumers have an unfilled demand (and increased expectations) that most laboratories continue to ignore. Public lab companies will be first to seize this opportunity and devote resources to the public. Hospital and private labs will follow after the fact, ceding competitive advantage and recognition for innovation to their more proactive peers. But one thing is certain. Today there exists an unserved, yet growing group of consumers who are ready to do business with a clinical laboratory that pays attention to their unique needs and wants.

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