How a Diagnostics Company Seeks to Improve the Patient Experience for Lab Services

Three years ago, Chris Grottenthaler seized an opportunity to improve the patient experience for lab services by starting a health management company with a backbone in diagnostics. The idea behind the company he founded, True Health Diagnostics, was to wrap a health management business around a strong diagnostics platform that tracks patients longitudinally, over time, to help them navigate to the best care plan and outcomes.

“What I saw regarding diagnostics and lab services was woefully short of the expectations that we have as consumers, and the type of good experience we want to have,” Grottenthaler, CEO, explained in a phone interview.

The bootstrapped Dallas-Fort Worth company has grown significantly in the past few years and now employs more than 500 across the country, operating two labs. True Health contracts with third parties to run some of its draw facilities.

True Health is organized to offer chronic disease diagnostics testing to physicians, who sign up for the company’s services, and their patients. In a personalized approach, the tests are geared toward the individual health profiles of patients who may have autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, genetic disorders, or hereditary cancer, among other illnesses. The company provides testing for hepatic, metabolic, renal, and thyroid function, among other assays.

In late April, True Health introduced a hereditary cancer screening tool for primary care physicians that helps them detect hereditary cancers early on. The genTrue hereditary cancer test identifies those who have suspected heritable cancer syndrome. Using next generation sequencing, the test determines if patients carry any of 26 genes that increase the risk of cancer.

“Part of our mission is to identify disease early in its progression,” Grottenthaler said. “What better way to identify a patient’s risk for cancer other than with their genetic profile?”

True Health plans to develop a platform in oncology that will complement hereditary cancer. Those details will be announced in the coming months. There also is interest in expanding efforts involving other diseases, but the company is not discussing this yet. The healthcare organization collaborates and licenses technology from others and develops its own internally.

To round out diagnostic testing, the company offers programs in disease prevention, wellness education, and nutritional planning. It offers laboratory management services to hospitals, who can partner with True Health, giving them access to its science. This allows hospitals to run their own testing instead of outsourcing to other laboratories. Introduced in December 2016, these services are a focus of the company.

True Health’s plans for the next few years are to modernize the hospital laboratory into an entity that can coordinate and improve patient care for other hospital departments. The objective is to improve communications between the physician, patient, hospitals, and payers.

What sets True Health apart is that it goes beyond simply providing diagnostics and lab test results to doctors and patients. It also helps patients navigate the healthcare system to the best care plan for their needs. After patients receive their test results, the company’s health and wellness professionals help patients understand their lab report, and works with them individually to build a plan of action that may include guidance on nutrition, exercise, and medication compliance. The company reinforces clinician guidelines by encouraging patients to adhere to prescribed treatment plans.

Insurers reimburse for the tests, depending on a patient’s coverage plan and deductible. In February this year, True Health inked a national agreement with Cigna to be an in-network provider for Cigna’s members. Some regional Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates have already added the company to their networks. True Health is now contracted to cover more than 75 million patients and is nearing similar agreements with other major health insurers. The business offers its health management services and diagnostics at negotiated rates to reach as many doctors and patients as possible.

The cancer space is highly competitive. Other companies, such as Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City, also offer cancer testing. Myriad offers its Myriad myRisk Hereditary Cancer test, a 28-gene panel that identifies an elevated risk for eight cancers. But True Health hopes that its personalized management approach will set it apart.

“Sometimes lab results fall into a black hole. A health condition that is in its early stages may not warrant an immediate phone call to a patient from the physician unless it is of some magnitude,” Grottenthaler explains. “But we think it’s important to create a platform for a conversation between the physician and patient so they can have a more engaging interaction around the lab services,” he adds.

“We provide color copied reports to all patients and encourage them to have a dialogue with their physician,” Grottenthaler said.

Physicians are able to view the reports online. Grottenthaler claimed that the physicians with whom the company partners experience greater patient satisfaction. The company works with several thousand primary care physicians and other specialists who are able to engage patients earlier on and stand a better chance of retaining them.

Essentially, this approach also improves the experience and eventually the health outcomes for patients who are given the attention they need, and it should better manage health care costs.

by Joseph Constance



Constance J. How a diagnostics company seeks to improve the patient experience for lab services. MedCity News.


About True Health Diagnostics

True Health Diagnostics is a health services company providing innovative clinical services and diagnostic information to help people live longer, healthier lives. The company specializes in earlier-stage prevention and diagnosis of chronic disease, including cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, genetic disorders and a range of metabolic conditions. True Health is a trusted partner of medical professionals because we help them obtain accurate and necessary diagnoses that can improve patient care. True Health is headquartered in Frisco, Texas, with operations across the country.

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