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Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Transplant patients know their healthcare experience is far from over once the surgery is complete. These immunosuppressed patients are regularly monitored to prevent infections and testing in the first year following the procedure is critical.
Yet testing noncompliance is a known contributor to acute rejection. Several barriers can stand in the way of patient compliance post-transplant.
First and understandably, most transplant recipients want to get back to enjoying their lives once they feel physically better. But if a patient skips a month of testing for whatever reason, a disease linked to their immunosuppressed state may have time to progress to the point where aggressive treatment is required.
Additionally, patients may not live close to the transplant center where their surgery is performed, and it may be difficult to get their testing completed especially if their home is not physically located near their physician network. Broad, convenient access to nearby testing sites, ones whose service hours are designed to fit patient schedules, can keep them on schedule for the tests they need over the long haul.
And there is the fact that for some, the out-of-pocket cost of testing at some labs may simply be too high. Collaborating with a lab services provider that offers patient billing flexibility and broad health plan coverage may help mitigate high costs and improve testing adherence.
All these factors contribute to compliance gaps in the early stages of post-transplant testing that run as high as 20 to 50%.1
"An end-to-end transplant testing solution can support compliance by making expedited testing more accessible and convenient for patients and donors"
Patient and provider benefits of a holistic approach
The benefits of a well-designed post-transplant testing program are many, but 3 rise to the top.
- Increased compliance. Even with the best of intentions, some patients can miss or skip tests, and research shows that the majority live more than 1 hour from their transplant center. A program that provides patient email reminders, testing kits mailed to a patient’s home specially designed for a smooth collection center experience, helpful tips on scheduling appointments or even the ability to have a lab representative to make an appointment for the patient, as well as convenient lab collection options like collection centers in retail stores and in-home lab draws all can all work together to testing compliance.
- Improved patient outcomes. Given their immunocompromised state, patients may be carrying a viral load that’s too high or even a new infection that needs immediate treatment. We should be doing everything in our power to ensure that they and their providers have access to expedited testing. The timelier that information is shared with their doctor, the higher the odds of a better patient outcome.
- ·Lower downstream costs. As US healthcare evolves to become more accountable and proactive, delivering accurate, and timely test results prevents unnecessary infections or even graft rejection, which can represent major cost savings to the patient and the system.
Higher consistency, higher compliance, better results
The needs of transplant patients are evolving, as are the needs of the healthcare providers who care for them. By contracting with a test provider who has created a more holistic testing experience, hospitals, health systems, and patients have everything to gain.