Sponsored: Thermo Fisher- October 2023- The Journal of Healthcare Contracting
Women have demonstrated they can excel in both their careers and as caregivers. Yet, even after receiving accolades for their accomplishments and multi-tasking abilities, women find it challenging to place themselves as a top priority. Despite the fact that women make 80 percent of healthcare decisions for their children and require healthcare services more frequently than men, they often neglect their own well-being.1
That decision could have dire consequences. American women cannot afford to overlook their health because they have the greatest burden of chronic illness compared to women in other countries2. In fact, one of five U.S. women reported having two or more chronic conditions, including a diagnosis of joint pain or arthritis, asthma or chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
These conditions can be diagnosed and monitored through a variety of diagnostic testing. While their prevalence among women is high and these conditions are not limited to just females, an even broader menu of other diagnostic tests are used by physicians specifically for women.
“Women’s healthcare is more specialized than the care men typically need which is why we offer so many different types of diagnostic testing for women,” said Patrick Jones, president of Fisher Healthcare. “Our portfolio of comprehensive testing capabilities are unmatched in the industry. They demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that laboratories across the United States have the products they need to support the health of all women.”
Pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests encompass 59 percent of all women’s testing in America.3 Other top testing categories include autoimmune, fertility and pap smears/non-STI infections.
Pregnancy testing performed by laboratories is much more sophisticated than the simple over-the-counter urine tests women may use at home to confirm a pregnancy. Manual, automated and semi-automated test kits used by laboratory technicians can provide earlier pregnancy detection by identifying lower levels of hCG in urine and serum that home tests can’t recognize. This knowledge is critical for some women who have health conditions that may require specialized prenatal care.
Laboratories perform a wide array of tests throughout a women’s pregnancy. These tests and others are used to detect health threats to the mother and baby such as rubella, Zika, Guillain Barré syndrome, gestational diabetes and more. To further enhance maternal and fetal health, Thermo Fisher recently received FDA clearance for its breakthrough blood test to predict the risk of severe preeclampsia, a life-threatening hypertensive disorder which can only be treated with the immediate delivery of the baby.
STIs create a significant test volume in the lab, with more than 20 million new cases every year.4 To lessen the transmission of infection, test results need to be received quickly so patients can begin treatment. STI testing can utilize several types of patient fluids to detect the presence of pathogens used by clinicians to diagnose various infections. Laboratories also use a wide range of urinalysis and urine chemistry kits to test for urinary tract infections, which are another frequent ailment for women.
The National Institute of Health reports that women are four times more prone to autoimmune diseases than men5. Thus, autoimmune testing is a considerable part of Fisher’s Healthcare’s women’s health solutions. More autoimmune diseases are identified each year, with 100 currently known that affect various body parts and systems. These diseases can be difficult to diagnose which is why Fisher Healthcare offers a wide variety of autoimmune testing solutions.
“Fisher Healthcare has hundreds of laboratory products specifically for women’s health,” said Jones. “We also offer new CLIA-waived technologies capable of delivering core laboratory results in non-acute settings.”
Women’s health has made significant advancements in recent years. New innovations for both diagnostic equipment and testing have enabled physicians to treat their female patients faster and more accurately. As women develop further testing needs in the future, distributors and their supplier partners can be counted on to equip laboratories with even more technologically advanced products to support the health of America’s women.
1 US Department of Labor: www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/fact-sheets/women-and-job-based-health.pdf
2 The Commonwealth Fund: www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2018/dec/womens-health-us-compared-ten-other-countries#:~:text=Women%20in%20the%20U.S.%20reported,%2C%20the%20Netherlands%2C%20and%20Australia.
3 C Space Co Lab Community, May 2022
4 The Dark Intelligence Group
5 National Institute of Health: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7980266/