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The rapid diagnostics startup closed a $100 million Series C funding round to validate the use of its Cue Health Monitoring System as an FDA-approved at-home influenza testing platform. Its system works through disposable cartridges that attach to its interface, subsequently delivering the test results to a provider dashboard or consumer mobile app. Cue Health also noted that it’s developing a coronavirus molecular test that’s pending Emergency Use Authorization.
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Cue Health is the latest DTC startup to roll out coronavirus tests amid the pandemic — and pivoting to a coronavirus-specific product now could be a smart way to attract consumer interest for its other solutions once outbreaks subside. DTC startups Scanwell and Hims & Hers also pivoted to introduce their own at-home coronavirus tests: Diagnostic firm Scanwell adapted its UTI remote testing interface to develop an antibody testing platform in March, while medication delivery startup Hims & Hers launched an FDA-approved at-home saliva test just last month.
Social distancing guidelines and fears of transmission have made at-home testing more appealing to consumers since the onset of the pandemic, especially considering the alternative is an invasive and often unpleasant nasal swab test. As we face the threat of a second wave of the coronavirus this fall, we think it’s likely that individuals exhibiting coronavirus symptoms will opt for remote diagnostic testing platforms.
Further, as these firms gain greater mindshare with their coronavirus-specific products, we think they’ll also hook in long-term interest for their other diagnostic tests — like flu or UTI testing, for example — or, in the case of Hims & Hers, its other products like hair loss or sexual wellness solutions — putting them in a good position to maintain consumer interest beyond the pandemic.
We think that at-home diagnostic testing may become a norm post-pandemic as individuals become acclimated to the convenience and accessibility it provides. In a 2019 survey by Healthcare Dive, nearly 51% of consumers indicated that convenience and access to care — rather than quality of care — are some of the most crucial factors that inform their healthcare decision-making.
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Thus, as more US consumers try out remote diagnostic testing for the first time and get acquainted with the convenience it affords, we expect to see a shift toward wider adoption of at-home diagnostic platforms for the foreseeable future. Considering that sustained telehealth adoption is likely — usage skyrocketed by as much as 4,000% for some virtual care firms amid the pandemic — we wouldn’t be surprised if firms offering remote diagnostics combined their services with a telehealth component to up their value proposition in consumers’ eyes, similar to Scanwell, for example.
The diagnostics company combines virtual consultations with its coronavirus testing service via a partnership with telemedicine company Lemonaid: Scanwell consumers link with Lemonaid clinicians over video, who can discuss the results of their test.
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