London Medical Laboratory, the UK’s first omnichannel blood testing, diagnostic and health check business, is in talks with the world’s largest Government-run public healthcare system to help slash Brazil’s patient waiting lists.
Brazil’s NHS equivalent, the Unified Health System (in Portuguese, the Sistema Único de Saúdeor SUS), offers free care at the point of delivery. The SUS offers generally high-quality services but has growing concerns around patient access due to high demand and long wait times.
London Medical Laboratory is now discussing sharing some of the knowledge behind its revolutionary blood testing technology to help the SUS transform into a preventative healthcare system. Using methods originally developed by LML and its partners, the SUS could identify problems before patients even show symptoms. This could dramatically reduce future demand by diagnosing some of Brazil’s most common health issues early.
The founder and co‑CEO of London Medical Laboratory, Flavia Araujo‑Rankin, was born in Brazil and is familiar with the country’s healthcare system. She met with two representatives from Brazil’s Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA): Pedro Miranda, IPEA’s deputy director of Sectoral Policies and Studies, Innovation and Infrastructure and Priscila Koeller, who is a researcher at IPEA´s Centre for Research on Science, Technology and Society.
The IPEA is responsible for investigating public policies. One of its projects is now focused on technological development and technology transfer in the health sector and Brazil’s healthcare system.
Says Flavia: “This is a wonderful opportunity for LML to share its knowledge to help reduce the burdens on Brazil’s amazing but incredibly hard-pressed health service. There are currently around 618,593 doctors registered in Brazil, an increase of around 70% over 2010.
“However, the total population is around 217 million, and everyone is entitled to SUS services (although 23% of Brazilians have private healthcare plans). That shows the scale of the potential demand for Brazil’s public healthcare.
“Another challenge is that Brazil has some 50,000 clinics but, largely, these cover more urban areas, whereas its landmass is some 3.3 million square miles.
“With that in mind, LML’s blood testing technology could transform Brazil’s health care by preventing many cases of the most common conditions before they develop. For example, we introduced LML’s tests for diabetes and high cholesterol to IPEA representatives.
“It’s thought at least 8 million Brazilians are suffering from undiagnosed diabetes. The disease leads to almost 55,000 leg or foot amputations every year. The SUS could save lives and money by identifying it early through simple fingerprick blood tests.
“Similarly, more than four in 10 Brazilians are likely to have high cholesterol, which puts them at significant health risk. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and other cardiovascular problems. Early diagnosis will dramatically impact outcomes and help decrease the strain on local services.”
Here is how the blood testing system could work, helping to transform local healthcare
- A patient attends their local health centre, such as a UPA (Unidade de Pronto Atendimento) clinic, to pick up a fingerprick blood testing kit.
- They take the test home and drop the sample back at the clinic.
- The sample is delivered to a local SUS public laboratory and processed.
- Using integrated technology, the results are assessed by healthcare professionals with the potential assistance of AI.
- The results are sent to the patient, who and their clinic will be alerted if a health problem is identified.
- The patient can then be reviewed at their local clinic if needed, the diagnosis confirmed, and any necessary treatment started.
“In Britain, LML’s blood testing services are only directly accessible privately. Brazil could point the way forward by being the first country to embrace a national policy of blood testing to pre-empt many conditions before they ever develop.
“Prevention is always better than cure, no matter where you are. We are very excited to see how LML’s knowledge and experience can be shared with Brazil’s IPEA representatives and its wider healthcare system to help further improve the success of its ambitious public healthcare services.
“Here in the UK, London Medical Laboratory’s wide range of fingerprick tests can be taken at home through the post or at one of the many drop-in clinics across London and nationwide in over 95 selected pharmacies and health stores. For full details about the company and the health checks it provides.”