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Quest Diagnostics (DGX) Inks New Diabetic Retinal Imaging Deal

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated DGX recently entered into a collaboration with IRIS (Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems) to provide diabetic retinal imaging services through the designated Quest Diagnostics patient service centers across the United States. The partnership will assist in screening patients for retinal assessment by a healthcare provider.

Previously, the company began offering diabetic retinal imaging through its Quest HealthConnect (QHC) business for use in screening with the IRIS platform. The new collaboration extends the use of the IRIS platform at Quest Diagnostics’ patient service centers.

The collaboration intends to promote convenience and enhance diabetic retinopathy screening rates for members of population health management programs sponsored by health plans in the United States. It is worth noting that early diagnosis and treatment for diabetic retinopathy will slow down the disease progression and prevent patients from losing their vision.

The new service adds to the Quest Diagnostics Extended Care portfolio of services designed to enable access to care beyond traditional healthcare settings.

Enhanced Access to Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Under this collaboration, designated personnel at Quest Diagnostics patient service centers will transmit a patient's retinal image to a credentialed, licensed ophthalmologist to interpret the images with the help of training developed by IRIS. The IRIS Program delivers a diagnostic and patient report to Quest HealthConnect. The results are sent to the health plan and the patient's primary care physician or eye specialist for follow-up diagnosis and care.

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Per Quest Diagnostics’ management, the collaboration with IRIS will utilize its network of patient service centers to improve access to screenings, resulting in better health outcomes. This expanded care network, according to IRIS management, will make it easier to reach the estimated 60% of diabetes patients who currently skip their yearly diabetic retinopathy check.

Industry Prospects

According to CDC data, about one-third of diabetes patients aged above 40 years have diabetic retinopathy.

Further, going by a report in Grand View Research, the global diabetic retinopathy market is expected to see a CAGR of 6.4% during 2022-2030. Factors such as the growing prevalence of diabetes, surge in the geriatric population, and rising incidence of blindness from diabetes are likely to fuel market growth.

Given the market prospects, Quest Diagnostics’ new collaboration to enhance access to screening for diabetic retinopathy seems well-timed.

Other Notable Developments

In March 2022, Quest Diagnostics was granted a contract by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct testing and provide laboratory data analysis to help detect patterns in SARS-COV-2 seroprevalence on a multi-state basis. The contract is intended to assist the CDC in evaluating the proportion of the population infected by or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

In January 2022, the company announced the availability of an at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test service for consumer purchase through its consumer-initiated testing platform, QuestDirect. The new service features proctored telehealth visits in partnership with eMed. The service allows individuals to use Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test under the supervision of a certified telehealth proctor.

Share Price Performance

The DGX stock has outperformed its industry over the past year. It has gained 4.7% against the industry’s 42.3% decline.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Currently, Quest Diagnostics carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Owens & Minor, Inc. OMI, NextGen Healthcare, Inc. NXGN and McKesson Corporation MCK.

Owens & Minor has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.8%. Owens & Minor’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 29.5%, on average. It currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Owens & Minor has outperformed the industry over the past year. OMI has gained 9.8% against a 15.7% industry decline in the said period.

NextGen has an estimated long-term growth rate of 5%. NextGen’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 17.5%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

NextGen has outperformed the industry over the past year. NXGN has gained 15.5% compared with the industry’s 36.3% rise over the past year.

McKesson has a long-term earnings growth rate of 11.8%. McKesson’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 20.6%, on average. It presently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

McKesson has outperformed the industry over the past year. MCK has gained 58.9% in the said period compared with 8.9% growth of the industry.


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