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Shift from Physician-driven to Consumer-driven Healthcare to Drive the Adoption of DTC Laboratory Testing

   May 15, 2023

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) laboratory tests are tests that are directly marketed to consumers without the involvement of healthcare professionals. The DTC laboratory testing market is mainly driven by increased consumer awareness regarding personal health management. Consumers can order a DTC lab test directly without consulting their healthcare provider and get results, allowing them to monitor & manage their health & wellness. These tests are favored by consumers due to their many advantages, such as high affordability, convenience, and accessibility. Also, there is an ongoing shift from physician-driven healthcare toward consumer-driven healthcare.

In the traditional healthcare model, patients visit physicians who initiate laboratory testing. The test results are interpreted, and appropriate healthcare is provided by the physician. In DTC laboratory testing, the consumer/patient initiates the testing and gets the test results. Increasing healthcare costs are also driving the demand for more affordable & convenient testing methods.

Many DTC laboratory testing companies offer tests for diagnosing infectious diseases and monitoring chronic diseases. The rising prevalence of various chronic & infectious diseases is also expected to drive the demand for DTC laboratory testing. Generally, there is a stigma around sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and people usually do not prefer to approach healthcare providers for STD testing. Direct-to-consumer laboratory testing solves this problem by offering discretion & confidentiality to consumers. According to the WHO, it is estimated that every day, over 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired globally. An estimated 374 million new infections are acquired annually, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Additionally, every year, over 311,000 cervical cancer deaths are linked to human papillomavirus (HPV). Thus, the advantages of DTC lab testing, such as discretion & confidentiality and the increased prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, are expected to drive the demand for DTC laboratory testing.

The growing adoption of telehealth is expected to generate market growth opportunities. Using telehealth, consumers can now directly consult a physician from the comfort of their homes and order DTC lab tests. The combination of telehealth and DTC laboratory testing provides consumers access to reliable health insights, empowering them. Patients can get accurate interpretations of their test results from telehealth consultants. Thus, the growing adoption of telehealth can potentially boost the utilization of DTC laboratory tests.

In the traditional healthcare model, healthcare providers oversee laboratory testing. The healthcare provider is responsible for determining what screening, diagnostic or therapeutic monitoring laboratory tests are to be performed on a specific patient.

However, increased digitalization and internet penetration have empowered consumers/patients and improved access to healthcare. Consumers can now take responsibility for their personal healthcare, changing the trend from clinician-driven to consumer-driven healthcare. This trend has increased the demand for direct-to-consumer laboratory testing globally.

Over the last few years, consumers have been actively participating in decisions affecting their health, enabling them to stay informed about their health and lead healthy lifestyles. Clinical testing or laboratory tests are an important part of healthcare. Earlier, individuals were restricted by laws and regulations, and tests could be ordered only after consulting with a physician. After the emergence of DTC laboratory tests and authorities' approvals, consumers can now directly order tests. These tests can be ordered online or bought from pharmacies without a prescription, making them more accessible to consumers. Consumers also prefer direct-to-consumer tests due to their easy and non-invasive sampling methods.

According to Meticulous Research®, the DTC laboratory testing market is projected to reach $7.92 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 10.9% during the forecast period 2023–2030.

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