The mobile app that answers patients’ medical test questions

Debuting at the AACC meeting was the first free mobile application to help consumers decipher their own medical tests. Created for use on an iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone, the Lab Tests Online app connects to a site promising to provide reliable, unbiased information that enables them to have more informed conversations with their doctors.

The peer-reviewed Lab Tests Online site was launched in 2001 by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) as a joint project between the laboratory industry and the laboratory professional community. The content is developed and approved by a volunteer team of laboratory professionals to provide patients with detailed test descriptions, condition descriptions cross-linked by related tests, and articles about testing and test reliability.

‘Lab Tests Online was designed to help patients and caregivers make sense of the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care,’ explained Dr D Robert Dufour, AACC’s executive editor of Lab Tests Online. ‘The site helps consumers take responsibility for their care by learning more about these tests that help save lives and improve the quality of life.’

The patient-centred site is acknowledging its 10 years as a standard for patient education by developing a mobile app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, and by increasing its social media presence. Both will debut next month at the AACC Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo.

The website already provides two million visitors a month with information needed to discuss their tests with their doctors. With 17 versions of the site online or in development -- including translations in Chinese, Spanish and French -- almost one-third of the world’s population can now learn from Lab Tests Online in their native language.

Elissa Passiment, executive vice president for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) and a member of Lab Tests Online’s Editorial Review Board since its inception, said: ‘Lab Tests Online is the ideal resource to help patients understand why their doctors ordered certain tests, so they can have intelligent conversations with them and be more active participants in their healthcare.’

A collaboration of 17 laboratory professional societies and organisations in the U.S. and Canada, the site’s content is reviewed by an editorial board composed of representatives from AACC, ASCLS, American Society for Microbiology, Clinical Laboratory Management Association, College of American Pathologists, American Society of Clinical Pathology, Association of Molecular Pathology, and 10 other member organisations.

Susan Leclair, chancellor professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and ASCLS board member who helped found ASCLS’ Consumer Information Response Service, which uses another group of volunteer laboratory professionals to answer questions from Lab Tests Online users, added: ‘Every now and then you hear back from people, something like, “Thank you. It was the first night’s sleep I’ve had in months”. That’s what makes it worthwhile.’



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