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24 November 2021

Future trends in diagnostics

The world is constantly evolving and has been changing ever more rapidly since 2020. For instance, Covid-19 testing has resulted in a learned routine for everyone. We are all used to testing now. The pandemic has also “activated” a new population into digital channels – from scheduling test appointments to using Covid-19 certificate apps. Patients are consumers, and increasingly they expect healthcare providers to provide the same kind of service they get elsewhere.   

Attitudes towards health and lifestyle are changing – and that’s shaping trends in diagnostics, creating new possibilities, and spurring innovation.

1. Digitalisation. Global spending on digital health is expected to hit a whopping trillion Euro by 2025. Consumer experiences are becoming more digital across the board. People expect 24/7 access to health services. Some diagnostics companies like Unilabs let patients order tests online. Our (Slovakia) and Directlab Online (Netherlands) offer diagnostic tests direct to consumers and give them a seamless, consumer-centred experience. We make sure the tests are reliable and easy, and then provide results online - with all the context the patient needs. A complete diagnosis from the comfort of your sofa: very convenient. And this is just the start. Test results will become more actionable in the future, coming in a package with tailored nutrition tips and action points to help patients achieve their health goals.

Digitalisation will also allow companies to offer a monitoring service, moving from a one-time test model to a follow-up one. Also, Unilabs helps healthcare professionals to digitise their work via online solutions such as eUnilabs (Switzerland and Norway) and Saudé (Portugal), where GPs can order diagnostics and analyses for patients, and check tests results.

2. Personalisation. With new technology, diagnostics can now create personal 'fingerprints'. Genetic diagnostic is a good example. The DNA sequencing market is expected to reach 21 billion USD by 2024. We may soon be able to predict chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular problems, and type 1 diabetes. Next generation sequencing will enable us to understand every unique human genome and how it affects the individual patient. People will finally “own” their health – because prevention and treatment can be personalised. Unilabs is working on translating this development into helpful new services for healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers alike.

3. Prevention. The pandemic has made us even more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. For many European citizens, “lifestyle” is embedded in their everyday lives by tools like Fitbit, Apple Watch, and smart scales. But platforms that offer both lifestyle advice and diagnostic services are few and far between. Putting the two together creates a full-circle approach for personal, tailored advice. When it comes to diseases like diabetes, the sooner you are aware of the problem, the faster you can change your lifestyle – and the likelier you are to stay healthy. Unilabs is planning to enrich the Directlab Online platform with health checks and lifestyle programmes. Our Digital Innovation Team is working with our Portuguese team on these programmes.

4. Decentralisation with Diagnostics@Home. Diagnostic tests are part of understanding your health. People self-sampling their blood at home would create millions of new blood collection locations. At Unilabs, we are working on this kind of @home diagnostics for our patients - for example, in Switzerland and the Netherlands, we aim to achieve a whole new blood sampling experience for our customers. We swap the regular blood draw for a more convenient @home blood collection. People want more control over their health. By providing this solution, we allow people to self-sample anywhere, any time.

By translating these possibilities into concrete services, at Unilabs, we are doing our bit to make this a better world.   

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