Optimizing the data in direct access testing: information technology to support an emerging care model

Michelle Stoffel, Stacy G. Beal, Khalda A. Ibrahim, Michael Rummel, Dina N. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Direct access testing (DAT) is an emerging care model that provides on-demand laboratory services for certain preventative, diagnostic, and monitoring indications. Unlike conventional testing models where health care providers order tests and where sample collection is performed onsite at the clinic or laboratory, most interactions between DAT consumers and the laboratory are virtual. Tests are ordered and results delivered online, and specimens are frequently self-collected at home with virtual support. Thus, DAT depends on high-quality information technology (IT) tools and optimized data utilization to a greater degree than conventional laboratory testing. This review critically discusses the United States DAT landscape in relation to IT to highlight digital challenges and opportunities for consumers, health care systems, providers, and laboratories. DAT offers consumers increased autonomy over the testing experience, cost, and data sharing, but the current capacity to integrate DAT as a care option into the conventional patient-provider model is lacking and will require innovative approaches to accommodate. Likewise, both consumers and health care providers need transparent information about the quality of DAT laboratories and clinical decision support to optimize appropriate use of DAT as a part of comprehensive care. Interoperability barriers will require intentional approaches to integrating DAT-derived data into the electronic health records of health systems nationally. This includes ensuring the laboratory results are appropriately captured for downstream data analytic pipelines that are used to satisfy population health and research needs. Despite the data- and IT-related challenges for widespread incorporation of DAT into routine health care, DAT has the potential to improve health equity by providing versatile, discreet, and affordable testing options for patients who have been marginalized by the current limitations of health care delivery in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Direct access testing
  • consumer-initiated testing
  • health equity and access
  • interoperability

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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