Venipuncture is painful. It's frightening. When you're performing research with vulnerable patient populations, it can pose a significant impediment to recruiting and retaining study volunteers.
Traditional blood draws are particularly unpleasant for children.Pediatric patients can't fully understand what's going on, or why a blood draw is important. With some elderly or very ill patients, finding a "good vein" for a venous blood draw can be an issue. In remote, low-resourced regions, other difficulties can arise, such as the inability of patients or study subjects to travel long-distances to cities or clinics for blood draws.
Using remote specimen collection and minimally invasive approaches in these contexts can make things easier for everyone. However, older methods of dried capillary blood collection, such as dried blood spot (DBS) cards and filter paper, have limitations (most notably the hematocrit bias). These limitations impede the ability to get specimens that can generate high-quality data of the sort that is needed for research.
Volumetric absorptive microsampling is based on a finger-stick blood collection technqiue that overcomes many limitations of DBS. For example, the Mitra device based on VAMS® technology works with a finger-stick lancet to collect a precise, fixed volume of capillary blood from a fingertip on its absorptive VAMS® tip.
Remote collection of capillary blood makes the sample collection process more mobile and easier for vulnerable patient populations. It is much less intimidating than a venipuncture blood draw, and the collected samples do not require any refrigeration or cold shipping.
Because anyone can use a Mitra® device to collect their own samples with minimal training, VAMS® technology is changing how researchers work with vulnerable populations. Clinical research, clinical trials, toxicology studies, therapeutic drug monitoring, and other crucial work has become easier as this smarter blood collection technology has begun to proliferate.
The researchers who work with the most vulnerable populations often lead the way in translating their work to patient-centered care. Already, Mitra® devices have enabled research on blood biomarkers for malnutrition in Liberia. They've made life easier for pediatric transplant patients, their physicians, and their parents. It's no wonder that according to patient surveys, many people consider themselves "likely" or "very likely" to choose Mitra devices with VAMS® over other methods of specimen collection.