Molecular Diagnostics is Up, Other Test Volume is Down, Kalorama Survey Finds

A survey of clinical labs across the U.S. shows a troubling reduction in testing volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with cancer and histology diagnostics hit particularly hard.  The results are part of the Kalorama Clinical Lab Tracker, a survey that was conducted in the third week of April by Science and Medicine Group company Kalorama Information, a market research firm that specializes in IVD.   Initial results were given in a recent webinar on April 30, but purchasers of Kalorama’s tracking can continue to see results as COVID-19 and reopening trends progress.

The majority of respondents reported that they were holding off on lab product purchases, with the expectation that money would be tight in the future and that they needed to focus on saving.

The survey included representation by facilities of varying sizes. Overall, 59% reported a significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact was stronger for those based in larger institutions.  Labs for Institutions of more than 1,000 employees, 67% of them reported a significant impact on lab operations.

“Their greatest concern is their people: staff — hiring, reducing, and maintaining staff. Almost two-thirds of laboratories are concerned about that,” Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, said during the webinar about the results.

A majority of labs reported layoffs or furloughs.

Lockdown and shelter-in-place policies have resulted in the cancellation of a wide variety of scheduled procedures and put an end to many face-to-face physician visits, which along with supply shortages have created a “witches brew” for laboratory business. “Even in a survey taken in the latter half of April, there were still concerns about getting swabs, extraction kits, and reagents for testing, hindering lab operations,” Carlson said.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that labs reported molecular assays volume was up (+7.7% on average) and tests like PCT, critical care and hospital infections were either up or not down significantly.   Chemistry, immunoassays and cancer testing were down double digits.

Interested companies can subscribe to Kalorama Information’s Lab Tracker

This bi-weekly clinical lab tracker is conducted over 48 hours every other Friday/Saturday; US clinical and diagnostics labs answer questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their laboratories.  This is an interactive Tableau data deliverable with custom filtered views by key demographics, and can be viewed by using the free Tableau Reader.

About Kalorama Information

For more than 30 years, Kalorama Information has been a leading publisher of market research in healthcare areas, including in vitro diagnostics (IVD), biotechnology, healthcare, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals.