By Marcella McCarthy
Getting lab work usually entails venturing out to a brick and mortar location, but Statlab Mobile – a lab on wheels – is changing that. The lab, which comprises a bus outfitted with lab equipment and offers most lab tests “from glucose to prostate cancer,” has been traveling around Florida and focused on COVID-19 testing since the pandemic started. The Miami-based heathcare startup has established a contract with the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
“I’ve seen dental buses and MRI busses, so I noticed it was a thing,” said Cheveral Deacon, who started the company in 2014. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Deacon earned a degree in nursing and worked at Quest Diagnostics. He realized that the uninsured paid a much higher price for the same test than an insured patient and that people in rural areas or with strict schedules couldn’t easily get to a lab.
Statlab has focused their COVID-19 testing on assisted living facilities – which is an area that’s been especially hard hit by the pandemic – and retirement homes.
While the machines on the bus are standard lab machines, keeping them operating while moving is where Statlab’s tech has come in. “These machines are not used to operating while on the move, so we’ve had to develop power systems and control systems in order for them to continue working while we’re driving around,” said Deacon.
Statlab accepts insurance and out of pocket payments. They have been privately funded thus far (but are actively fundraising) and are in the process of developing an app where patients can order and schedule tests. They are hiring.