Babson Diagnostics and Cynergy partner on consumer-initiated orders of its BetterWay blood test

Steven Loeb · May 6, 2024 · Short URL:

BetterWay blood testing will launch in Texas later this year before rolling out nationally

Blood testing informs 70% of clinical decision-making, yet it hasn’t changed much in over 70 years: patients still visit a collection service center for traditional venipuncture, where a nurse or phlebotomist draws tubes of blood from a needlestick in a vein. Not mention it can be difficult to get an appointment, so to 40% of people report skipping their test, and a recent survey found that more than half of Americans report some fear of needles, while 71% required multiple needlesticks for blood draws.

To solve these problems, Babson Diagnostics has developed a new way to draw blood, called Betterway, which needs only a pea-sized amount of blood collected from a fingertip to produce medically accurate results, and doesn't require a phlebotomist to collect blood, so it can be performed in a retail setting.  

"Babson Diagnostics intentionally designed BetterWay blood testing to create a better patient experience that can help people to get the data and insights they need to power their healthcare journey," David Stein, chief executive officer of Babson Diagnostics, told VatorNews. 

"We have reimagined the entire blood testing experience, from collection to sample preparation to analysis, to make blood testing more convenient, accessible and less invasive."

The Austin, Texas-based company, which was founded in 2017, is ready to commercialize BetterWay, with plans to launch in Texas later this year, but before that it recently announced a partnership with Cynergy Wellness to provide clinician oversight of BetterWay.

Cynergy is a provider of physician services and technology solutions that support national workplace safety programs, occupational health screening, and employee/consumer health. Its services include state-required prior authorization for customer-initiated orders, test reviews to ensure tests are clinically appropriate for a customer, and results assessment to screen for test abnormalities or critical values and, when necessary, provide clinical guidance in a follow-up consultation with the patient.

For Babson, Cynergy’s independent clinician oversight service will include test review, which when a clinician reviews a customer’s health information to determine whether a test is clinically appropriate for the individual. If it's deemed appropriate, the clinician authorizes the lab test requisition, and the customer can complete the test. 

It will also, where appropriate, include authorization, as well as test results assessment, which when a clinician reviews the lab results for abnormalities or critical values, and, when necessary, provides clinical guidance in a follow-up consultation with the customer.

"Cynergy Wellness is a nationally recognized and growing industry leader in consumer health, providing valuable services that create a seamless and safe experience between labs and consumers. The company shares our vision that improving access to healthcare leads to more individualized engagement in health and well-being," Stein said.

"The company ensures that orders are appropriate and that abnormal results (if encountered) are communicated. We believe it is appropriate for an independent clinician to make unbiased, independent clinical decisions on test appropriateness and be a resource available to customers in case of abnormalities or critical values in test results."

The BetterWay solution

BetterWay was a result of a partnership between Babson and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.)  to develop an FDA-cleared collection device that obtains blood samples from a fingerstick by developing a patented sample preparation device that eliminates the need for pharmacy teams to handle samples.

The device automates preanalytical steps, such as mixing and centrifugation, and also maintains optimal temperature and light control to protect sample quality.

"The preanalytical phase is the most vulnerable part of the total testing process. Manual handling and preparation in conventional testing introduce human error that impacts sample quality," explained Stein.

In addition to its collaboration with BD, Babson also has a strategic partnership with global MedTech company Siemens Healthineers; the company is also an investor in Babson, which has raised $65 million in funding.  

BetterWay isn't Babson's only device: the company also invented a hand-warming device to support the collection of samples from a fingertip.

Rolling out BetterWay

As BetterWay doesn't require a phlebotomist it means blood doesn't need to be taken in a doctor's office but can be taken at a patient's local retail pharmacy; as such, Babson will partner with retailers to expand blood testing to pharmacies and other retail locations. 

So far, Babson has retail agreements with H-E-B, one of the nation’s largest independently owned supermarket chains, and two independent pharmacies in the Austin metro area, Peoples Rx and Lake Hills Pharmacy. The initial rollout of BetterWay includes select pharmacies in Austin and will expand to more locations this summer.

The company is also in discussions with other retail pharmacies to expand BetterWay nationwide, Stein said.

"We like to say that the purpose of innovation is to improve human lives. Bringing new healthcare technology to market requires a tremendous focus on how it will benefit those who use it – the people who dread getting a blood test and those who skip important testing because it isn’t convenient. And let’s not forget the clinicians who struggle to get their patients to follow through with blood test orders," said Stein.

"We want BetterWay to be the blood testing people don’t skip. Blood testing offers vital clues about their bodies and their overall health and wellbeing. We want to educate and engage on the importance of testing and delivering a better experience at convenient locations, with easy to understand results that will motivate people to get the care they need, when they need it."

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