LabCorp Diagnostic's president, CMO discusses at-home testing, importance of patient self-efficacy

Brian Caveney, MD, LabCorp Diagnostic's president and CMO, has spent only three years at the Burlington, N.C.-based company, but he has contributed to its expansion significantly — namely by leading efforts to scale up remote diagnostics.

In July 2019, LabCorp, one of the largest clinical laboratory companies worldwide, began giving consumers the option to order their own blood tests online, something Dr. Caveney said "allows them to manage their own health." LabCorp uses the same high-quality instruments, machines and processes to perform top-grade clinical testing for specimens that were collected at home as it does for specimens collected in a clinical setting.

By creating ways for patients to access some of the testing that would allow them to keep track of risk factors and their underlying health conditions from home, LabCorp is seeking to make patients feel more in control of their health. This increases patients' feelings of self-efficacy, something that has become more important as many patients feel unsure about how to maintain their well-being amid the pandemic.

In response to rapid COVID-19 outbreaks worldwide, LabCorp released its self-swab COVID-19 at-home test kit so that patients could be diagnosed with the virus and check for antibodies. They can can also visit one of LabCorp's patient service center locations for antibody testing. These centers have been entirely open during the pandemic, giving patients an alternative testing setting as many of them have been avoiding traditional healthcare facilities.

On June 30, Humana became the first insurer to offer LabCorp's at-home test-collection kits. These kits allow patients scheduled for a surgery who may be immunocompromised to perform tests at home, with LabCorp sending the results to their doctor. Dr. Caveney said LabCorp is working with its physician and hospital customers to offer the "same convenience for the patient as our fully consumer-oriented process."

"We're really doubling down and making sure that we're making testing available to the appropriate people who need to be tested, according to clinical priority guidelines," Dr. Caveney said. "One of the ways that we've expanded that is ensuring the consumer can initiate the test and get an at-home COVID-19 test on their own through our website. We're also working on ways to use our same ability and platform to enable doctors to order an at-home test for COVID-19 through this process."

Dr. Caveney noted that while the world is rightfully concerned about COVID-19, it is imperative that people are safely taking care of the other diseases and conditions that affect their personal health maintenance, including undergoing lab tests that help physicians make better decisions about caring for those with chronic conditions.

"As a physician, I think there will always be a need for an expert who understands all the relative causes of particular things to help diagnose patients and take care of them for complex conditions," Dr. Caveney said. "But more and more doctors are educating their patients in a way they can have some self-efficacy during clinical visits and are providing some of the limited lab tests to help patients know the status of their condition."

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