H-E-B Introducing Innovative Blood Testing

Texas grocer’s pharmacies working with Babson Diagnostics to roll out BetterWay
Babson BetterWay Main Image
Babson Technologies' BetterWay blood testing enables trained health care workers to collect a high-quality, pea-sized amount of blood with just a fingerstick.

H-E-B will launch BetterWay blood testing from health technology company Babson Diagnostics at select pharmacy locations in the Austin and San Antonio, Texas, metro areas starting this July. Two independent pharmacies in the Austin area, Peoples Rx and Lake Hills Pharmacy, will also offer the service at the same time. BetterWay blood testing is described by Babson as less invasive, more convenient and accessible for consumers.

“Blood testing hasn’t changed much in over 70 years,” noted David Stein, CEO of Austin-based Babson. “We intentionally designed BetterWay to create a better patient experience in convenient retail locations. We are excited to introduce BetterWay with three partners keenly focused on improving access to needed health care services in their communities.” 

Although blood informs 70% of clinical decision-making, up to 40% of people report skipping recommended testing. To meet the needs of consumers for an updated, easily accessible experience, Babson created a first-of-its-kind hybrid approach to blood testing that democratizes small-volume collection and centralizes analysis. Clinicians can easily place orders for testing used for patient care, diagnosis and treatment, and clinician-ordered testing is eligible for insurance coverage. Customers can also order tests directly via e-commerce. According to Babson, “BetterWay fits seamlessly into the pharmacy workflow and enables trained pharmacy staff to offer a robust menu of blood testing to support annual wellness exams, chronic condition management, and screenings.” This bolsters the growing role of pharmacies in offering comprehensive, personalized care.

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BetterWay blood testing technologies include:

  • An FDA-approved collection device that enables trained health care workers to collect a high-quality, pea-sized amount of blood with just a fingerstick. Without the need for a phlebotomist, Babson can bring medically accurate blood testing to new, more convenient settings like community pharmacies. An innovative hand-warming technology aids the collection of high-quality blood samples from a fingertip.
  • A patented microsample preparation device and pre-coded microsample tubes that eliminate the need for the pharmacy team to label and prepare samples. Babson’s device automates all sample preparation steps, including mixing and centrifugation, while maintaining optimal temperature and light control to protect sample quality. Manual handling and preparation in conventional testing leads to human error that affects sample quality.
  • High-quality analysis at Babson’s CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited laboratory in Austin, which was built for the purpose. The lab uses market-leading analyzers and the latest diagnostic technology to yield medically accurate results.

Babson is currently in discussions with other retail pharmacies to expand BetterWay nationally.

With sales of $43 billion, San Antonio-based H-E-B has more than 430 stores and 154,000 employees in Texas and Mexico. The largest privately held employer in Texas is No. 15 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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