Erasmus Medical Centre, located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is an international leading academic hospital with a mission for a healthy population and to pursue excellence in healthcare through research and teaching. Erasmus MC is a public organisation. In 2021 Erasmus MC had 659,317 outpatient visits. Erasmus MC posted a financial result of €46 million in 2021. Sustainability is visibly on the move at Erasmus MC and the subject is gaining broader support. For example, several Green Teams have been set up in the departments.
Around the globe, many patients are under surveillance for their disease that is either chronic (e.g. diabetes, kidney disease) or treated, but at risk for recurrence (e.g. cancer). Blood tests are often the cornerstone of these surveillance programs. Drawing these blood samples, traditionally performed by venepuncture at a hospital or other medical centre, requires patients to travel, puts a burden on medical personnel and is at least unpleasant if not painful. Decentralised, home-based blood sampling by a capillary technique can be beneficial both in terms of patients’ well-being and in societal cost-effectiveness.
Currently, patients are required to travel to the hospital for blood sampling, which sometimes requires the assistance of family or friends. Outpatient travel represents a substantial portion of patients’ travel distances. By enabling home-based blood sampling, patients will have the flexibility to draw blood at their convenience, reducing productivity losses associated with time away from work, and reducing unnecessary travel.
In-hospital blood sampling affects a wide range of patients, including those who require frequent monitoring of blood levels for chronic diseases, oncology patients undergoing treatment, and patients requiring blood tests for other medical reasons. Given that approximately 60% of the Dutch population is diagnosed with at least one chronic disease, a painless home-based blood sampling device has the potential to improve the healthcare experience for a significant proportion of the population.
Our motivation to solve this is to improve the healthcare experience for patients by implementing a painless home-based blood sampling device. By introducing this innovative solution, we aim to address several key challenges associated with in-hospital blood sampling.
Furthermore, hospital visits for blood sampling can have a negative impact on patients’ well-being, as the need for in-hospital follow-up visitations can evoke distress and anxiety. By shifting the sampling process to the comfort of their homes and allowing patients to draw blood outside office hours, patients can experience a sense of control and reduce the stress associated with hospital visits. This flexibility empowers patients to take an active role in their healthcare process by providing them with the option to collect blood samples at a time that suits their schedule best. Whether it’s in the early morning or late at night, patients can comfortably complete the blood sampling process. Returning the samples to a laboratory for analyses is as simple as per mail. By eliminating the need for unnecessary travel, home-based capillary blood sampling can not only enhance patient convenience but also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing fuel emissions.
By overcoming the barriers associated with in-hospital blood sampling and introducing a painless home-based alternative, we can revolutionise the way blood samples are collected. Our motivation is driven by the desire to improve patient outcomes, enhance well-being, increase convenience and patient involvement, and reduce the environmental impact of unnecessary travel.