diagnostics

This is the second in a two-part series. Read part one . The link between clinical and social aspects of COVID-19 raises the question of what type of data are needed to manage the COVID-19 surge and better absorb shocks that may be caused by future pandemics. We believe clinical patient level data are essential given the different ways the disease has developed for different patients. There are many questions up in the air that need to be answered in order to prepare better for future pandemics and to treat the disease. If testing and analysis is done in a harmonised way across the EU countries, data from different tests can be compared. And if these data are combined with demographic, social, health and other relevant characteristics it will bring additional value by understanding the framework for the disease and perhaps also indicate a more efficient treatment through personalisation. This will require a number of things: Developing testing in a diagnostic context linking patient data, such as registries, to additional sources of data to be able to follow up the development of the disease in the medium- and long-terms. Establishing a common framework that allows for meaningful comparison across borders – from health system to health system. If it cannot be done quickly enough at a global level, it should be possible to do it at a European level. Establishing common ways of interpreting data (preferably through a harmonised approach at EU level) in order to maximize the value of the treatment for the patient, for the health systems, and for our societies. A communication published by the European Commission in July identified EU-wide sharing of clinical, epidemiological, virological data through an EU COVID-19 data sharing platform as one of action areas to ensure the short-term EU health preparedness for...
The power of diagnostics information ( VODI ) to public health and society was a topic of keen interest even before the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic offers us fresh lessons on how health systems can harness this value. Many of us will recall one of the earliest recommendation from the Director General of the WHO during the pandemic: test, test, test . In our view, testing played a key role in healthcare systems’ response to COVID-19. From the earliest weeks of the pandemic, Germany and South Korea stood out in managing outbreaks relatively well. Besides having very resilient healthcare systems with high laboratory capacity and trained staff, they were also doing better than most countries because they had the resources to test widely at an early stage. As a consequence they have also suffered lower case fatality rates than comparable countries. Despite the rapid development of diagnostic tests, most countries lacked the necessary personnel, equipment, and infrastructures to be able to cover the needs caused by the surge of severe COVID-19 cases. Yet, the wide deployment of diagnostics has helped to control this surge in countries which supported appropriate reimbursement policies for diagnostics and antibody tests. Social measures, including the design of lockdown protocols and the progressive return to the “new normal”, have been informed by the effectiveness with which diagnostics were deployed. Border policy has been linked to the availability of, and free access to, rapid testing at airports. This has been facilitated in some high-income countries such as Denmark, and in some low- and middle-income countries, such as Senegal. So, how can we better harness the value of diagnostic information for more personalized care in future? The urgency of controlling the surge of COVID-19 cases has made it necessary to prioritise the immediate consequences of the tests, those...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness **************************************** The impact of cervical cancer can be reduced by timely detection of the viruses that cause it. Early detection of cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPV) allows prompt intervention, sparing women the trauma of disease – and saving lives. Cervical cancer strikes women in the prime of their lives. The median age for diagnosis is 49 – when people are likely to be active in work and family life – but the virus that causes the disease may have been present for decades before cancer was detected. One in 100 women in Europe will develop cervical cancer in their lifetime. In addition to anxiety and pain, the disease can severe reproductive health issues and, in some cases, premature death. 14 types of human papillomaviruses are known to cause the disease. HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the highest risk types, accounting for more than 70% of cases. HPV is a very common virus, transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. There’s no shame in carrying the virus – most people have it at some point in their lives. In fact, close to 80% of all sexually active adults will get HPV. The good news is that the virus often...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness ****************************************** Chronic kidney disease is a major concern for healthcare providers worldwide. Tests that allow efficient and accurate diagnosis are vital. We all know someone living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) – even if they have not yet been diagnosed: it is estimated that 10 percent of the global population is affected by CKD 1 . Between 1990 and 2010, kidney disease became one of the fastest-growing causes of death in the world, second only to HIV/AIDS. 1 Reviewing the data on CKD diagnosis, we were struck by how timely detection can impact patient outcomes. Catching kidney disease in the early stages is a challenge, since there are typically no overt signs or symptoms. However, if CKD is detected early and managed appropriately, the deterioration in kidney function can be slowed and the risk of associated cardiovascular complications reduced. 2 For patients, this can make all the difference, but we know too that there is a real impact for health systems where demand is rising and resources may be scarce. CKD also represents more than €1 trillion in healthcare costs over the next decade. 3 Key indicators of kidney function So, what are the tell-tale signs...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness ****************************************** World Cancer Day (4 February) is an annual reminder of the heavy burden of cancer globally. We all know someone affected by this disease – a friend, a neighbour, a loved one. While outcomes are improving in many forms of the disease, the word ‘cancer’ still strikes fear in the hearts of those who hear it. Lung cancer is a case in point. The disease kills more Europeans than any other cancer. More than 250,000 citizens of the EU-28 die annually. [1] Lung cancer is often diagnosed late. [2] The impact of the disease can be curbed by diagnosing cases as early as possible – maximising the opportunity for successful surgery or treatment. 2 When diagnosed in the late stages of disease, the chances of being alive in five years’ time are not good: for those diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, the average five-year survival rates range from 2% to 13%. [3] The outlook is considerably better when diagnosed at stage I. Globally, most patients (58-73%) whose lung cancer is picked up in the earliest stage live longer than five years. 3 Reducing the burden Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money and For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes . ************************************* Advances in diagnostic technologies give patients same-day test results for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. This helps ease patient anxiety, can reduce the risk of infecting others and facilitates appropriate use of antibiotics – helping the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Let’s be honest – nobody relishes the prospect of visiting a Sexual Health clinic. Those who make the trip often have symptoms and are worried that they may have an infection. In many cases, they face an anxious wait for results to come back from the lab. When I started working in the public health system in the UK, parts of the patient experience of Sexual Health services were far from ideal. Health professionals would take samples which were collected daily and taken to a lab. Results were sent back to the clinic around one week later and then there was further delay in notifying the patient of their results. For patients, it was a worrying wait. One of the most pioneering clinics was at Dean Street Express (DSE) in London’s Soho district. There, the team developed a...