Welcome to the latest feature in our Life at LetsGetChecked series where we’re offering insight into the technology, data, and science behind LetsGetChecked by speaking to those that work alongside it each day.
In the first of a two-part series, we spoke with Dina Greene, Associate Laboratory Director for LetsGetChecked. Dr. Greene has 12 years of clinical laboratory experience. She earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Emory University, followed by a Clinical Chemistry fellowship at the University of Utah. She spoke with us about how LetsGetChecked labs differ from others and the benefits of LetsGetChecked owning the entire supply chain.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey to date.
I started my journey into lab medicine in 2009. After I finished a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, I wanted to use my basic science training and apply it to patient care. So, I did a clinical chemistry fellowship with ARUP laboratories at the University of Utah. It was there that I found the avenue of lab medicine, which is this really beautiful interface between understanding basic science, fundamental chemistry, and fundamental biochemistry and understanding how human physiology can benefit from that.
My first job was with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, which, at the time, insured about 5 million people in Northern California. Being there gave me the opportunity to recognize what an impact lab medicine could make on population health. It showed me the power of integrated healthcare systems and how when you have clinicians and laboratorians working together, you can really improve a process and a route of care for patients.
When did your interest in MedTech begin?
I was not a good teenager! I started at community college and I went to a few classes to figure out what I didn’t want to do. I started taking science classes and as soon as I started taking Biochemistry classes I fell in love with Microbiology. Then I never turned back.
I’m a different type of person, people joke with me that I use my whole brain because I’m talented in so many different ways and I have so many things that make my ability to problem-solve in an analytic context very unique. I interact with things that are seen as different from the mainstream on a regular basis and that really allows me to approach science in a creative way which makes people impressed by what I end up contributing to the field.
In your opinion, how do the LetsGetChecked labs differ from other laboratories out there?
At LetsGetChecked, we have a disruptive model. In our labs, we are starting from the ground up to design workflows that allow us to accept high volumes of small samples that are collected from home. In most laboratories, they will receive racks of samples but here, we have designed our system to be amendable to single samples at a time while still being scalable to meet mass volumes. Operationally, this changes the entire front interface of a laboratory.
The analytical part, the meat of our systems at LetsGetChecked, is still very similar to what’s done in every other laboratory. We have high-quality equipment, state-of-the-art molecular testing, and the best kind of amino assay available.
The big difference? Our front end allows customers to be empowered with their testing. It allows them to order tests that they feel are appropriate, and often are appropriate to their healthcare needs.
At LetsGetChecked we own our entire supply chain, could you take us through some of the benefits of that?
We are very intimately linked at LetsGetChecked. Our commercial team is linked to our clinical care team which is linked to our laboratory and we all have a very interdisciplinary approach to our business and our model.
From what I understand, the difference between us and others doing similar to us is that most direct-to-consumer companies do not own their own laboratory. And so by really focusing on doing things internally, we have complete control over all of the quality.
I recently wrote a paper about decreasing the lower limit of quantitation for urine albumin alongside LetsGetChecked. In this research paper, we validated a result-reporting strategy that directly improved population screening for CKD. Optimizing processes through data-driven quality analysis is nearly impossible if you’re contracting a laboratory. You can’t have a say in how you’re going to improve testing because you’re not in the position to make that call. Because we own and operate our own labs, we can really do things to improve testing for our sample type and for the types of population screening that currently we do best.