Person writes on a digital screen showing lungs with special pen

Home health and hospice titan Amedisys has made it easier for clinicians to make treatment decisions by partnering with medical diagnostic technology firm Patient Choice Laboratories.

Amedisys disclosed Thursday that advanced molecular testing is now available at all of its care centers nationwide. Enabled by Patient Choice Laboratories, this technology will allow care professionals to quickly and accurately identify dangerous pathogens in patients’ urinary, respiratory or wound infections. The goal, Amedisys said, is to speed up medical diagnoses and allow for more timely treatment decisions.

“Our patients are very complex; they are getting more complex and we needed to find ways to address their complex needs faster,” Melanie Morris, assistant vice president of care delivery management at Amedisys, said in an interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “Molecular testing was one of those ways that we found to be able to address some of that.”

More than one-third of deaths among people over 65 years old are a result of infectious diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The need for fast and effective infection treatment for Medicare home health patients is therefore critical, Thomas Payne, president of Patients Choice Laboratories, noted in a statement.

“Using traditional testing methods, we would have identified these infections that a patient might have, but the benefit with molecular (testing) is that we can get results 12 to 24 hours after the lab receives the sample versus having to wait three to five days,” Morris said. “We’re able to start patients on the right medication the first time, and that does keep patients from having some antibiotic sensitivities or antibiotic resistance down the line. So it’s definitely faster and it’s also faster for our team to be able to follow up on it.”

Amedisys is continuing to innovate and enhance its service capabilities, even amid an ongoing purchase by UnitedHealth Group’s subsidiary, Optum. 

Advanced molecular testing allows Amedisys to remain “at the forefront of healthcare advancements and technology, ultimately providing its patients with the highest standard of care and support,” the company said in a release. And while molecular infection testing is beneficial for patients in any type of care, those living at home are especially needful.

“In home health, patients are a little bit more removed from a provider and so there’s an opportunity for an infection to really take hold quickly and get pretty bad quickly,” Morris said. “Being able to get in front of it is really beneficial for the patient because there’s not a provider that’s keeping eyes on them and monitoring them as closely.”