This spring, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that had been championed by Rep. Heather Carter, Sen. Nancy Barto and physician leaders to give Arizonans direct access to lab tests. That groundbreaking law went into effect last week, ushering in a new era of preventive care.
Arizonans are now able to access and pay for any lab test themselves, without being required to first get a doctor’s note or work through insurance eligibility.
Lab test data drive more than 70% of health decisions. Yet most of us know more about our credit card data than we do about our own health. Most of us only begin to focus on getting tests done once we’re already sick. And too many of us find out we’re sick when it’s too late to change the course of disease.
Every person deserves the right to his or her own health information — the right to access that information in time to change outcomes — the right to engage with this information to change our lives and the lives of those we love for the better.
Today, lab tests are often only reimbursed when the need for those tests are justified by symptoms of illness, which means many tests are only ordered when people are already sick. And even then, the majority of lab test orders don’t get filled because services are costly and inaccessible.
Direct access to laboratory tests ushers in a new era of individual empowerment to take control of our own health — to work with our physicians to prevent disease and detect it early, instead of treating illness after it’s taken hold.
Direct access also provides visibility into the price of tests, allowing you to choose the lowest cost, highest quality options, fueling competition for better services for everyone.
Arizonans can now get lab tests done in a preventive manner and before your annual physical, to better see changes over time. Simple tests can help your doctor recognize health issues earlier and better provide preventive care. And Arizonans who want to know if they’re at risk of conditions like diabetes or heart disease are empowered to engage with their physicians sooner.
I’m proud of this step we’ve taken in building a new era of preventive care. And I’m also the first to recognize we have a lot of work left to do. To empower people to engage with their health, all lab test prices need to be transparent. And prices need to be affordable, and the same for everyone. Just because someone can’t afford good insurance doesn’t mean they should be charged more out of pocket.
Tests need to be convenient, accessible on nights and weekends with results available in real-time. And all lab tests should be held to the highest quality standards, set by the FDA, because you deserve results you can trust.
Realizing a world in which fewer people have to say “If only I’d known sooner” – a world in which fewer people have to say “goodbye” too soon – is the reason I founded Theranos. And it’s why I believe in Arizona’s groundbreaking law.
– Elizabeth Holmes is the founder and CEO of Theranos, which offers lab tests at 41 Theranos Wellness Centers in Arizona.