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OneTest Partner Spotlight: Interview with Tristate Preventive Health – Dr. Loewenstine

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Dr. Virginia Loewenstine in a photo.

OneTest Partner Spotlight: Interview with TriState Preventive Health - Dr. Loewenstine

A few weeks ago, we sat down with respected physician, Dr. Virginia Loewenstine, to talk about the impact of OneTest on her practice. Tristate Preventive Health Consultants (TPHC) has selected  OneTest as their chosen test for cancer screening with firefighters. By offering OneTest, her company stands committed to improving the health and well-being of firefighters and employees, while staying at the forefront of new testing developments.

In our exclusive interview, we dove into the world of preventive healthcare and the groundbreaking advancements made by OneTest in the field of cancer screening. Driven by her commitment to patient well-being and armed with OneTest’s innovative approach, Dr. Loewenstine shared her insights on the importance of early detection, the benefits of comprehensive screening, and the power of patient education while operating her Occupational Medicine practice, TPHC. Join us as we explore how OneTest is revolutionizing cancer screening, and empowering individuals and organizations to take control of their own health and their patient’s healthcare.

Q: Let’s get started! I wanted to know, how did you originally find out about OneTest?

Dr. Loewenstine:

Our business is preventive health and one of our main clienteles are fire departments. For us, especially me as the CEO and Medical Director, we always like to be at the forefront of preventive health advances including new ways to screen. We follow the literature. We follow what’s happening in fire services. And what I found was fire services as an industry were starting to turn their attention to cancer screening and trying to get cancer as a presumptive diagnosis. 

A few years ago, a study published by NIOSH reported that firefighters were at an increased risk of cancer. They even listed these identified types of cancers. This concerned me so I started to do my research and I began researching the different cancer screening tests and the different ways they worked, etc. I was searching for a test that could be done the easiest way and one that would be the most productive way to screen large masses of people. That’s when I stumbled upon OneTest. After doing additional research on OneTest, I decided to go with you guys.

The reason I went with OneTest is because we already know that tumor antigen markers have been in existence for decades. And we know they are used to monitor diagnosed cancer.

Q: Right, so when you were doing your research, it seems like you bought into the premise of MCEDs being used for mass screening. Why specifically did you choose OneTest over other MCEDs?

Dr. Loewenstine:

As you know, other options exist. As a scientist, I researched these other tests extensively. The reason I went with OneTest is because we already know that tumor antigen markers have been in existence for decades. And we know they are used to monitor diagnosed cancer. PSA is one of these tumor markers that is already used as a screening tool. Firefighters are at increased risk for prostate cancer, and we have been using PSA to screen for this cancer for years. 

So, knowing that I already use one of the tumor markers to screen and saw that OneTest uses tumor antigen markers, I’m like, that made sense to me as far as picking up cancers. Now, I will say that in my research, I did realize that there are pros and cons to this type of test. In particular, there are sensitivities and specificities. But for me, the benefit of the marker outweighed the risks of doing this type of cancer screening.

Q: After you chose one test OneTest, what was the impact of the test? How has it contributed positively to your practice, both by providing care or providing new [screening] options?

Dr. Loewenstine: 

OneTest is a good fit with our organization. So much so that we now offer it to our fire departments. The test itself is easy to do. There’s no patient preparation. Our team already draws blood for other reasons when we do their annual physicals. So, all we do is add another tube of blood. It’s seamless. The results come back very quickly. The reports are very concise and well-written. And as a bonus, there’s a second page that explains how to interpret the tests. This is awesome, because when we print out the test results, we include it so if they happen to take it to their doctor, their doctor knows what he or she is looking at. This information also educates the patient, and we are all about educating our patients so they can have more control over their own lives. So, to answer your question, it’s easy to use, provides well-written reports, has a fast turnaround time, requires no prep, and the results are self-explanatory and useful.

OneTest is a good fit with our organization. So much so that we now offer it to our fire departments. The test itself is easy to do.

Q: Amazing. You were able to use OneTest and the reports provided a to create kind of a roadmap for both your patients and the physicians that you’re working with?

Dr. Loewenstine:

I consider myself a “ghost physician”. In other words, while we’re doing a mandatory evaluation on someone for their work, these employees and firefighters have their own doctors. So, I always work in tangent with them, but silently. If there’s something that needs
to be worked up or something that we find on other blood tests, we always send
them to their regular doctors for follow-up. In other words, we’re not their
treating doctor. We identify areas of concern and send them to the right place
to further take care of them.

Q: That leads me to my next question, what are your goals as a provider, as somebody who runs a practice?

Dr. Loewenstine: 

My mission in life is to prevent as many diseases as I can. And one of the ways to do that is to educate the patient population. A lot of doctors don’t spend the necessary time to do that. So, people go to the Internet for this information and as we both know, what they read, and watch is not always correct or complete. So, I take it upon myself to be their trusted resource, so they know what to do. OneTest fits in with my personal mission and the mission of Tristate Preventive Health Consultants because OneTest is all about prevention. If we can find indications of possible cancer or signs of cancer that may happen, then we can immediately take the appropriate actions and get these individuals to the right medical care for follow-up.

Q: So would you say that not only is OneTest in the arm of prevention but that it also helps you identify the signs of some cancers?

Dr. Loewenstine:

Yes. In addition, OneTest can alert us to an increased risk of cancer, higher than what a normal person’s risk would be. It also helps us educate our patient population about risks and preventive actions they can take.

My mission in life is to prevent as many diseases as I can. And one of the ways to do that is to educate the patient population.

Q: So it’s a way to get them on board [for cancer screening]?

Dr. Loewenstine: 

Yes. It encourages them to take better care of themselves. Our patients know we’re screening for these markers. So, when we meet with them to discuss their test results, we have the opportunity to go over each cancer and educate them on what they need to modify in their lives to prevent those types of cancer. We do this even if all the results are negative.

Q: Right, so it’s in a similar way, maybe in simpler terms, like for something that people are more familiar with, (this test) it would be like if I went to go get a LDL, HDL test, and even though I didn’t have high LDL or low HDL, my doctor would still tell me about the risks of high LDL Cholesterol.

Dr. Loewenstine: 

Correct. We provide a good service, and we consider OneTest to be a good service. Our fire departments have openly welcomed this test and many of our fire departments immediately signed on. Our other fire departments are working on obtaining funding so they too can offer this cancer screening to their departments. I see this as very promising. We’ve even been asked multiple times, “Hey, if the fire department’s not going to pay for me to do this test, could you just do it and I’ll put it on my HSA account and pay for it that way?”. And, we’ve had multiple fire departments ask us to provide a day to include the testing of spouses, adult family members, and those who are related to fire services. This type of screening is very well received with our clients.

Q: So I wanted to ask you on the operation side, on the testing side, how has that service level been matched? And how has the service level of our operation benefited your ability to do the testing itself?

Dr. Loewenstine:

So, it’s just a simple blood test and it’s one extra tube, right? But it has to be packaged correctly. It has to go to a separate lab from our other labs. Everyone at OneTest has been very helpful in making sure we have all the requisitions and that our client fire departments have been registered in advance. They have provided us with on-site, on-call communication in case any of our phlebotomists run into trouble. They walked us through how to ship the test kits including how to pack them up and ship them. We also received help from your IT department when we needed assistance in pulling reports. And most recently, I have a meeting scheduled with your scientific director, so I can be fully educated on OneTest and have all my questions answered. This way I am prepared to address questions our firefighters may ask, as well as their families and others we will be testing in the future. Your organization has been very supportive and responsive.

Having worked in OccMed for over 30 years and owning my company since 2007, I’ve worked directly with hundreds of providers over the years, and I have to say your organization is one of the most reliable and proactive firms I’ve worked with. It is a real pleasure working with every member of your team...

Q: Thank you, we really appreciate that feedback! If there was something better that we could do or something we could add to the test, what would that be? 

Dr. Loewenstine:

Right now, OneTest only has LDT approval based on it’s FDA approved markers, but OneTest does not have full approval yet  so there are a lot of disclaimers. I would strongly urge you to get FDA approval ASAP, which I realize you are already pursuing. And while getting FDA approval can take a long time, I’m confident you’ll get it because each individual tumor marker is already FDA-approved. Other than that, I’m pretty good with what you’re currently offering and the support TPHC is receiving. Again, what I appreciate the most is all the educational materials and conversations that come with working with your organization. Because as a physician, I can do all the testing, and I can provide our firefighters and others we test with results, but I need to be able to educate them too. Education is the backbone of preventive medicine and cancer prevention.

Q: Thank you we really appreciate that feedback! 

Dr. Loewenstine:

I love to be at the forefront of new developments and advances. So, when I find new ways to accomplish our mission of improving the health and well-being of our clients, I’m all in. OneTest is one of those new ways.

Q: That’s awesome. That’s really great to hear, and hearing that you’re very much an early adopter, you’re an open-minded thinker, [we] love that.

So I’m wondering, what do you think is necessary for better treatment outcomes when it comes to cancer screening and early detection testing practices?

Dr. Loewenstine:

Number one is to have screening tests available. As you know, in medicine our commitment is to “first, do no harm”, right? So, when a screening program is offered, you first want to make sure the screening itself is not causing more harm than if no screening was done. For example, to detect lung cancer CT scans are often used. This means radiation. Repeated CT scans used as screening can actually do more harm than good. Because OneTest is just a blood test, this eliminates added harm. Besides, in our case, we’re already drawing blood for other tests, so this is just an add on. 

You see, this is really about mind shifting in the medical community, which in time will result in long-term professional culture change. A shift from potentially harmful uses of screening for cancer to non-harmful screening. Is OneTest perfect? Probably not, but no test is perfect. But it is a much better way to screen for early cancer detection. I would love to see other physicians take a more proactive approach to early cancer detection. This can start with using a better way to screen for early cancer detection involving just a simple blood test.

Thank you to Dr. Loewenstine and the entire TPHC team for supporting OneTest for Cancer screening! Feel free to learn more about Dr. Loewenstine and her growing OccMed business click here:

To learn more about OneTest and how it could transform your cancer screening journey, click here:

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