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New bill in Arizona enables patients to order their own blood tests

“’If people begin to engage, they can test and monitor their health before they get sick.’” Elizabeth  Holmes.

A new Arizona blood test bill, co-authored by Holmes’ high-tech company goes into effect, allowing patients to order blood tests without involving a doctor. It represents a significant step towards Holmes’ ultimate mission: giving consumers control over monitoring their health via inexpensive and comparatively painless tests.

“This bill demonstrates that we can facilitate a new era between physicians and patients,” Holmes tells USA TODAY

Before the new Arizona law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in April 2015 at a Theranos lab in Scottsdale, allows patients to order any blood test they want without a doctor’s referral. In addition, the law protects physicians from being sued as it places the onus of interpreting test results on patients.

Holmes says the idea isn’t to cut doctors out, but to develop an online connect between patients and Physicians. Friday also marks the launch of Theranos MD Connect, an online resource that puts Arizona test result recipients in touch with primary care physicians around the state. Representatives of Theranos’ main rivals in the blood testing business, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, did not respond to requests for comment on Theranos and the new Arizona law. Holmes simply says that “many things have been written about us that are just completely false. We’re just saying that enfranchisement leads to understanding.”

So-called telemedicine – where doctors and patients consult online or by phone for a fee – is a growing trend, while new health care insurers such as New York-based Oscar are using smartphone apps and other tech to make the enrollment.

“The bill deliberately protects physicians (from lawsuits), but we are all for making sure patients partner with them in a productive context,” says Holmes. “People need to be in control. I liken it to a pregnancy test. You wouldn’t go to your doctor to get approval to take a test. You’d take the test and go to the doctor. All of this is just about having the access to your own health. “This process is more transparent and doctor