Mako Medical Laboratories

Syndromic testing | QIAstat-Dx

Avoiding repeat hospital visits with syndromic testing

20 August 2020

All local recommended safety guidelines followed at the time of interview.

The team at Mako Medical recognizes senior living communities face unique challenges and are especially vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Syndromic testing is used at this lab to ensure fast results, knowing that delays can present a real dilemma for patients living in close quarters.

When Joshua Arant, Chief Operations Officer, founded Mako Medical, he was determined to change the way patients were treated by breaking the conventional method of clinical laboratory testing and focusing on elderly patients who he feels are underserved. Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations at Mako Medical, agrees that certain patient populations, like those over 65, are often overlooked in healthcare. “When tests take too long to come back to assisted living facilities or rehabilitation centers, opportunities to improve care are missed – and those patients needlessly suffer,” says Hoover.

In nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where communities are susceptible to outbreaks, and many residents are immunocompromised, a fast result is essential to ensure the proper treatment. Approximately 80% of all diagnostic decisions are based on tests performed on biological specimens like blood, urine and stool. Too often, both the doctors who order those tests and the patients worried about their health must wait days, even weeks, for the clinical results to arrive. Such delays can significantly impact a patient’s outcome.

“When tests take too long to come back to assisted living facilities or rehabilitation centers, opportunities to improve care are missed – and those patients needlessly suffer." The team at Mako Labs, a full service reference lab focusing on samples received from physician offices and senior care facilities across the southeast, explain why they test with the QIAstat-Dx Respiratory Panel when it is pertinent to provide patients in senior care communities with fast results.
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We've seen many things that come through senior care populations whether because there are immunity suppressed or whether they're on antibiotics.

Steve Hoover, President of lab operations, Mako Medical

A lab for the community

Located a short distance from the renowned Research Triangle, Mako Medical lies in the quiet, rural community of Henderson, North Carolina. The full-service reference lab focuses on testing that comes out of physician’s offices and senior care facilities across the southeast United States. “We work with every group across the board,” explains Arant, ”but also felt a certain level of care needed to be brought to the senior community.”

A common situation Arant and his team face is the case of older patients visiting the doctor’s office with a fever and respiratory symptoms. The patient could have the flu, a bacterial infection, or even have been exposed to a coronavirus. Without a quick turnaround time on laboratory testing, doctors lack the information needed to make the best decision for that patient. The outcome might be that the patient receives unnecessary antibiotics when what they actually have is a virus. Other times, patients are simply sent home when they need another form of treatment, or in extreme cases, should be isolated for public safety.

Joshua Arant
Joshua Arant is the Founder and Chief Operations Officer at Mako Medical. His goal in founding Mako five years ago was to create a “disruptive” laboratory testing company that furthers healthcare through advanced technologies and more appropriate resource allocation. He received the 2019 Vistage Impact Leadership Award and was named one of the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Top Leaders in 2017.
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We believe in syndromic testing because we don’t have to spend a lot of time diagnosing a patient who might not have a lot of time to get that diagnosis.
Steve Hoover, President of lab operations, Mako Medical

Time is of the essence

To meet these challenges, Arant’s vision was to form a clinical laboratory with a strong scientific team that could provide 24/7 service, along with the quickest turnaround on test results as possible. The team chose the most accurate diagnostic equipment available: “The QIAstat-Dx Respiratory Panel gives physicians the full spectrum of possibilities without having to play guessing games, whether we’re talking about older patients, pediatric patients or immune-compromised individuals,” says Hoover.

“Time is of the essence, a reality that rings true across all provider groups. The analytical sensitivity of this test is 95% accurate, thanks to technological advances. This kind of accuracy inspires 100% confidence, and it can do so in around one hour, ensuring that patients can get the right care in the timeliest of manners,” he explains. Hoover says they are also excited about QIAGEN’s developments in gastrointestinal profile testing. The new panel, expected to be launched in 2021, will easily integrate with their QIAstat-Dx testing platform. As with respiratory testing, this test will help doctors better diagnose gastrointestinal complaints so patients, especially the more vulnerable ones, will not have to undergo unnecessary surgical procedures.

Steve Hoover
Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations at Mako Medical, has over ten years’ lab experience, having held leadership positions in clinical laboratories in both hospitals and at LabCorp, one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the United States. He strives for better patient care, and having seen a deficit in the senior community in the past several years, wanted to provide a testing solution to that age group which would ultimately lead to less recurring hospital visits.
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Our value to our patients and to our provider community has increased by bringing the QIAstat-Dx in-house.

Joshua Arant, Founder and Chief Operations Officer, Mako Medical

Why Mako?

When Arant envisioned his lab five years ago, he knew that it would require a strong brand concept. He decided on the mako shark as its emblem since this animal embodies the essence of the company. Not only are these sharks known for their speed, cunning, and large brain to body mass ratio, but “mako” means trust and integrity in Japanese. Today, Mako Medical carries out up to 10,000 individual tests each day. The company offers over 1,300 different blood tests to its clients, ranging from microbiology to genomic offerings. It plans to expand its lab space, and its offerings as new tests and technologies become available. But even as Mako Medical continues to evolve, Arant says there is one thing that won’t change: its heart. “The more we can grow, the more we can give back,” he says. “That’s just the nature of it.”

Mako Medical Laboratories
In Henderson, North Carolina, Mako Medical is an award-winning clinical laboratory company serving over 12 states. The company processes over 3,000 different laboratory tests, while also developing several custom and proprietary tests, and employs around 600 employees. The world-class clinical laboratory has been named the Triangle’s fastest-growing company three years in a row.
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