Experts weigh in on the urgent need for convenient, rapid STI testing

By Medline Newsroom Staff | September 13, 2022

Patient Experience

Experts weigh in on the urgent need for convenient, rapid STI testing

New technology expedites and enhances patient care

STI rates continue to climb

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates continue to climb in the U.S. To help provide fast, early and convenient STI testing and treatment, Medline has partnered with Visby Medical to offer their handheld, CLIA-waived PCR STI test, providing results within 30 minutes.

In light of Sexual Health Week (September 12-18), the Medline Newsroom spoke with Doug Sharpe, a 25-year healthcare industry veteran and Medline’s vice president of Lab Capital, and Visby Medical Chief Medical Officer Gary Schoolnik, MD, about the need to evolve testing methods and new technology that’s helping enhance the patient experience.

  • Medline Newsroom: What is driving the rise of STIs in America?
  • Gary Schoolnik, MD: STIs have been increasing for six consecutive years and often go undetected because many patients, especially women, often experience non-specific or no symptoms at all. However, lack of treatment can cause future health problems.
  • Doug Sharpe: Inconvenience in the testing process can deter patients from getting tested, especially if they do not suspect that they have an STI. Traditionally, a patient visits a healthcare provider, provides a urine sample and the test is sent to the lab for analysis. The turnaround time is at least 24-48 hours, sometimes up to a week, and it is challenging for a practitioner to accurately provide treatment while the sample is being tested because each STI requires a different antibiotic. Further, healthcare providers sometimes have trouble contacting patients to share results, resulting in delay of treatment.
The Visby Medical Sexual Health Click Test

The Visby Medical Sexual Health Click Test

  • Medline Newsroom: How have testing methods evolved to help enhance the patient experience?
  • Doug Sharpe: It is important to look at how we can get test results immediately, especially as convenience plays a critical role in a patient’s relationship with a healthcare provider. Once the patient leaves the facility, you don’t know what will happen and if they will contribute toward spreading an STI. This is something that makes Visby Medical Sexual Health Click Test special. It provides results to patients in less than 30 minutes.
  • Medline Newsroom: How did Visby Medical come up with the concept of a handheld, rapid STI test?
  • Gary Schoolnik, MD: We began exploring the idea of a diagnostic test that anyone could use anywhere in 2010. After looking at a number of unmet medical needs, sexual health was identified as a critical focus area. The goal was to make PCR testing for STIs as easy as taking a pregnancy test and help reduce presumptive treatment. Overtreatment rates have been high, meaning a clinician took their best guess on treatment and prescribed an antibiotic treatment the patient did not need. In 2021, the Visby Medical Sexual Health Click test received FDA clearance and CLIA waiver, making it the first instrument-free PCR test for the detection of three of the most common STIs- Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Trichomonas. With a short wait time of less than a half hour to receive results, a patient can be diagnosed and prescribed treatment and address concerns with the doctor while still at the provider’s office. Empowering clinicians with immediate access to a lab-grade PCR result will help guide the right treatment and patient discussion. This can help save time and money and reduce anxiety for both the patient and clinician.

STIs have been increasing for six consecutive years and often go undetected because many patients, especially women, often experience non-specific or no symptoms at all.

Gary Schoolnik, MD

Gary Schoolnik, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Visby Medical

  • Medline Newsroom: What should healthcare providers consider when evaluating their STI testing needs?
  • Doug Sharpe: First, take a close look at their process today. A few questions for leadership to ask themselves include:
  • How do they currently collect samples, and what is the turnaround time for securing results from the lab?
  • How much time are they spending contacting the patient with results?
  • How do their clinicians feel about the process? Is the current process taking time away from other work?

When evaluating need processes, it is important to think beyond the budget, a common barrier to implementing new initiatives. Leaders should heavily consider tools that will help free up resources to help drive staff engagement and deliver high-quality care.

Learn more about the partnership between Medline and Visby.

Categories: Caregiver Readiness, Healthcare Segment News, Home hero, Infection Prevention, Patient Experience

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

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