Pie-ChartIn the United States, we have such a wide and varied population that represents every genetic disease and covers every health problem the rest of the world sees combined. From diseases like sickle cell mainly seen in regions like Africa to various genetic disease seen in groups like the Ashkenazi Jews, even portions of our population experience something as innocuous as varying levels of the metabolic enzymes like alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (among many others) – we have an amazing and large range of areas our health care system has to take into account and treat.
Toxicology testing is not really thought of as something that improves health care. Instead, it is often an afterthought and can be a touchy subject among many healthcare providers. You ask yourself, “If I ask my patient to undergo a test like a toxicology test, am I demonstrating to them that I don’t trust them?” This is a valid thought/question but, as healthcare providers, we focus on improving health and steering our patients towards better decisions that might influence their health in a positive way.
On top of all of this, we have been forced to take a step back because groups like the CDC, NIH, and even the AMA and WHO are trying to combat what they have termed an epidemic – the exponential growth in the number of cases of drug overdose, mostly prescription medications, of patients showing up the emergency rooms. The CDC and other groups are pushing to have toxicology testing incorporated as standard care in order to curtail the explosion in patient overdose and prescription drug abuse.
22-2-t3Many of you have seen, in your states, new requirements for prescribing pain medications such as checking databases and entering information on your patients if you are prescribing specific medications. These systems help on the front end, ensuring your patients are not shopping for pharmaceuticals by going to more than one provider for a prescription. In coming back to toxicology testing, it is the only way to determine whether or not your patients are maintaining their side of their health care treatment in complying with what you have prescribed, are taking the medication prescribed, and are not substituting or taking any drug, over the counter, prescribed, or illicit, in addition to what you have determined for their health care plan.
Most of you understand the pitfalls in the sensitivity and specificity of urine dipstick tests, a form of point-of-care testing. Many times, but not every time, a confirmation test is required to ensure that the specific drug or metabolite in that class of drug is what is in the patient’s system.
At AMS, in conjunction with our vendors, Clinical Laboratory Consultants and ALS, we work to provide you the best laboratory testing solutions for any sized practice. Our toxicology testing program covers every level of testing and helps you build a program from the ground up. We help determine what type of testing works best for you, help you with any accreditation, find staff if needed, and help you every step of the way.
There are opportunities that do help your practice earn some revenue through toxicology testing but the primary focus is on keeping your practice compliant with regulations, help you provide your patients the best care possible, and then explore how services like toxicology testing may provide a source of revenue for your practice.
If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me and AMS today!