If you’ve ever had a blood test or a biopsy and questioned the time it takes to receive the results, the answer could be because the process involved can be more complex than you’d imagine, especially when a sample requires testing not once, but up to four times. Even though the range of diagnostic tests now available has increased significantly, and the analytical processes have seen immense technical breakthroughs in the new era of precision or personalized medicine, this is no guarantee of a speedy result.
The complete testing process from start to finish, from when a patient gets a diagnostic test until they get the results back, is called ‘turnaround time’ (TAT). This can be measured in two ways. Laboratory TAT is measured from the time the sample arrives at the molecular pathology laboratory until the result is reported, while total TAT is measured from the time the sample is taken from the patient until the result is reported. The length of both types of TAT can vary not only according to the complexity of the test but the logistics involved. These are some of the reasons why:
Precision medicine is such a fast-moving space that new platforms and even digital imaging of pathology samples are likely to speed the interpretation and reporting aspects of TAT but there will always be fundamental issues to address. These include the logistics involved in getting a sample to and from the lab, tight budgets for new equipment and the cost to train staff to run novel tests and use new technology. We appreciate the vital role laboratories play in ensuring patients are tested at an early stage but also understand the importance of identifying where the lab process can be improved to prevent patients from missing out on the targeted therapies they urgently need.
On December 5, 2017, Diaceutics is hosting a webinar discussing Why 50% of patients could be missing out on the right targeted therapy, which will go into more details about maximizing the number of patients being tested. To register for the webinar please click here.