mobile phlebotomy vs. patient-managed blood collection: a comparative analysis
by Neoteryx Microsampling on Jul 6, 2020 9:00:00 AM
The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in new norms in healthcare. Among these is the evolution of blood collection methodologies. Both mobile phlebotomy and patient-managed blood collection have emerged as transformative, patient-centric approaches. But which one is the better option? Let's delve into the pros and cons of each.
Blood collection, an essential aspect of diagnostics and patient monitoring, has undergone significant change to ensure safety during the pandemic. The shift away from traditional lab visits has been driven by the need to minimize potential virus exposure.
Mobile Phlebotomy: Home-Visit Blood Collection
Mobile phlebotomy involves dispatching a trained phlebotomist to a patient's location, reducing the need for in-person hospital or clinic visits.
- Wet Blood Collection: Ideal for comprehensive blood panels.
- Scheduling Convenience: Avoids crowded waiting rooms and long queues.
- Flexibility: Adaptable to patient's routines, especially beneficial for assisted living residents.
- Mobility: Eliminates the need for patient transportation, minimizing exposure risk.
- Exposure Risk: Health workers moving between homes can contract or transmit viruses. Additionally, the job inherently risks exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
- Invasiveness: Venipuncture can be painful and anxiety-inducing.
- Skill Variability: The quality of blood samples can vary based on the phlebotomist's expertise.
- Storage Constraints: Whole blood samples necessitate cold storage, complicating transport.
Patient-Managed Blood Collection: Empowering Patients
Volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS) allows patients to collect capillary blood samples using devices like Mitra® at their convenience. It involves the patient using a simple finger-stick method to collect a small drop or two of capillary blood from their fingertip. The blood drops are absorbed onto the tip of a Mitra® device, which is designed with VAMS to absorb a scientifically precise volume of blood for lab analysis. The Mitra with VAMS provides a safer and easier blood collection technique that virtually anyone can use to collect their own blood sample at home or anywhere that is convenient. The hospital or lab only needs to liaise with the patient to send them a blood collection kit.
When the Mitra® Collection Kit arrives at the patient's home, they simply follow the instructions and use the supplies in the kit to collect a blood sample, repackage it, and return it by mail for processing at a lab.
Once the patient has collected their blood sample and placed it back in the package for mailing, the specimen is considered a dried blood sample. The at-home specimen collection process is very user-friendly, and there’s no need for a professional phlebotomist or a visit to the clinic or lab.
- Dried Blood Samples: Facilitates easier and more stable shipping.
- Minimal Invasiveness: Finger-stick collection is quick and causes less discomfort.
- Sample Stability: Drying the samples offers resistance to various environmental factors, reducing contamination risks.
- Sensitivity: Repeated finger-sticks can cause discomfort.
- Test Limitations: Not all tests can utilize capillary dried blood samples.
- Technique Dependency: Proper execution is crucial for obtaining quality samples, though most kits are user-friendly.
As healthcare continues to evolve in the face of challenges like COVID-19, it's crucial to assess and adopt strategies that prioritize patient safety and convenience. Both mobile phlebotomy and patient-managed blood collection offer unique benefits, with the choice hinging on the specific needs of the patient and the test requirements. Remember, the goal is to enable accurate diagnostics while ensuring patient safety and comfort.
Image Credits: Trajan, Neoteryx, Shutterstock