April 2, 2007 “Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

In the past four weeks, Genova Diagnostics, Inc. of Asheville, North Carolina, has acquired two laboratories. First was the purchase of Individual Well- being Diagnostic Laboratory, Ltd. (IWDL), located near London, England. The purchase was announced on February 28. IWDL offers tests for “allergy & food intolerance, hormonal balance, digestive analysis, and nutritional assessments.” Just 12 days later, on March 12, Genova disclosed that it had acquired AAL Reference Laboratories (ARL) in Austin, Texas. ARL has a menu of hormone tests.

MORE ON: Genova

Long known as Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab (GSDL), the company changed its name to Genova Diagnostics in March 2006. Its President and CEO is Ted Hull, who formerly held executive positions with Nichols Institute and Quest Diagnostics Incorporated.

NEW LEGAL BATTLE OVER SELLING HEALTH DATA

Changing consumer and physician expectations over the privacy of medical data is triggering significant changes in long-standing pharma industry practices. Earlier this year, New Hampshire was the first state to ban the collection and sale of prescription data—a common practice for the pharmaceutical industry. Upon passage of the law, IMS Health and Verispan sued New Hampshire in federal court to overturn the law. Both firms collect prescription data from pharmacies which they sell to drug companies. Drug companies use the data to track prescribing patterns of individual physicians—allowing their sales reps to target doctors for sales calls.

ADD TO: Medical Data

One interesting dimension to this developing trend is that the American Medical Association (AMA) makes $30 million per year licensing its physician directory. Drug companies use the directory to cross-reference names with prescriptions. Yet, in a survey of doctors conducted by the AMA, it learned that two-thirds of the physicians surveyed don’t like having their names sold and cross-referenced in this fashion. Predictions are that more states will take steps to ban the collection and sale of prescription data. Laboratories should take note of this situation and develop policies that are consistent with changing consumer expectations about privacy of their medical data.

Dark Daily Update

dark_daily_logoHave you caught the latest e-briefings from DARK Daily? If so, then you’d know about…

…Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), going live as the first statewide system to pass standard format lab data, radiology reports, and discharge data to providers.

You can get the free DARK Daily e-briefings by signing up at www.darkdaily.com.

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