charlie chapAs a medical student and medical intern, I prided myself on my ability to get blood samples from ‘difficult to stick’ patients, and I can remember IV drug abusers teaching us students how to find their veins, as they were the most expert of all in finding a difficult to stick vessel.

Now, today, two great technological advances are making life for all of us easier when we need to have blood testing.

First, is Theranos labs, with the fingerstick method for performing a vast array of blood testing.  I’ve spoken several times before, here in these pages, about Theranos labs and their proprietary technology that will reduce labwork cost and create an ease of use with new technology that allows a vast array of all blood testing to be done without a needle.  As Theranos is rolling out into all of the Walgreens in the country, 8000 of them, we are seeing the first wave of testing here in Phoenix, at numerous Walgreens in The Valley.

Second, is the technology called Accu Vein, which allows for the visualization of veins in your arm, prior to having blood taken or IV’s placed.  Using an infrared light, and projection technology, the phlebotomist can see the veins they are trying to stick with the needle.   What formerly took great skill and experience, is now becoming much simpler with a visual map to guide the blood draw.

These innovations are simple but impressive improvements in day-to-day care, and go way beyond anything I could have imagined in my training back in the 80’s.