Dr. Maggiore: Thank you for your insightful comments. I really enjoyed reading your interview. What is the current state of direct access testing in America? Do you think it will eventually be regulated at the Federal level or left to state governments to control? Lastly, what type of individual is likely to take advantage of direct access testing?
Jack A. Maggiore, Ph.D.
Currently, Direct Access Testing is regulated at the state level, and varies from being entirely prohibited to being completely unrestricted. You will need to check with your state's Department of Health to determine the degree of regulation within your state. I do believe that Federal regulation will eventually be necessary as the breadth of testing in this category continues to grow and now includes drug abuse testing and infectious disease testing. Individuals who utilize Direct Access Testing include those who are interested in learning more about their health, and have decided to take control over certain aspects of their health. The best example of this is Cholesterol Panel testing, where an individual will take a test, see that their Total Cholesterol or LDL-Cholesterol is high, make a lifestyle or dietary change, and then re-test to check for an improvement. Some consumers test to monitor the effectiveness of therapies, while others are interested in checking levels of certain analytes between doctor visits. Interestingly, and somewhat surprisingly to those who are new to this category of testing, the vast majority of consumers who seek Direct Access Testing are under the concurrent care of a physician, and use the results from their direct testing as a communication tool in discussing their health with their physician. I see this as an essential key to the success of Direct Access Testing, as the relationship between patient and physician needs to be fortified, and not challenged by consumers who independently seek information about their health. An educated patient is one who will be involved with their health maintenance, and one who is more likely to adhere to treatment regimens. Finally, this is the era where the "do-it-yourselfers" are approaching retirement age, and are still seeking convenience in all aspects of life. The convenience of Direct Access Testing has great appeal to this group, which accounts for the highest percentage of users of Direct Access Testing falling between the ages of 50 and 65.