Life Line Screening

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Life Line Screening
Type Private
Company limited by guarantee
Industry Healthcare
Founded Florida, U.S., 1993
Headquarters Independence, Cleveland, U.S.
Area served 48 US States, Australia, United Kingdom
Key people Colin Scully, (Chairman & CEO)
Services Preventive Health Screenings
Employees 1000+
Divisions Screen for Life (Australia), Life Line Screening (UK)
Website www.lifelinescreening.com

Life Line Screening is a privately run health screening company founded in Cleveland, USA in 1993. The company, which operates out of the USA,[1] United Kingdom, and Australia under the name Screen For Life. The company operates community-based preventative screening services for a range of health issues and in 2010 was said by a partner organization to be the largest provider of preventive screening services in the USA.[2]

Background[edit]

The company was founded in Florida in 1993 by Colin Scully and Timothy Phillips. The service since expanded across the USA and the United Kingdom. By 1998, the company had expanded across the United States, offering screenings to more than 500,000 people. The company added finger-stick blood testing to its screening services to screen for complete cholesterol count (lipid panel), diabetes (glucose) and inflammation (C-reactive protein) in 2007.

Life Line Screening’s preventive health screening services were launched in the United Kingdom in 2007. In 2008, services expanded once again to include atrial fibrillation screenings. Using the company name Screen for Life, the health screening organization began offering services in Australia in 2012.

Operations[edit]

Worldwide, the company has conducted over 8 million health screenings since it began, and conducts over 1 million screenings per year, which include ultrasound scans, blood screenings and electrocardiographs. Common diseases that may be detected by such screenings include atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

There are over 16,000 local community events per year which provide these screening services. Normally, Life Line Screening charges a fee for their services. A number of quality studies have been conducted in order to validate the screening methods used by organizations including the University of South Florida.

Life Line Screening has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since October 1, 1996. The BBB accreditation standards involve a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaint.[3]

Life Line Screening has earned a BBB letter grade of A+ on a scale of A+ to F. Factors that raised the rating for Life Line Screening include the length of time the business has been operating, the low complaint volume filed with BBB for a business of its size, Life Line Screening’s response to the complaints filed, the resolutions of complaints filed against Life Line Screening, and the sufficient background information about the company supplied to the BBB.[3]

Partnerships[edit]

Life Line Screening is partnered with numerous insurance companies, hospitals and organizations, such as Ameriplan, Women in Technology International, MCM Solutions,[1] Heritage Valley Health System,[4] Carolina Vascular,[5] Mission Hospital,[6] and Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.[7]

Research[edit]

Life Line Screening has been active in medical research. In 2010 a clinical research study was conducted using data from 3.1 million patients who completed a medical and lifestyle questionnaire and were evaluated by ultrasound imaging for the presence of AAA by Life Line Screening in 2003 to 2008. The study found a positive association between increasing years of smoking and cigarettes smoked and a negative association with smoking cessation. Results also showed that excess weight was linked with increased AAA risk, whereas exercise and consumption of nuts, vegetables and fruits was linked with reduced risk.[8]

The study results were published in Volume 52 of the Journal of Vascular Surgery in September 2010. Based on the results from this study, researchers were able to develop a simple scoring system that detects large abdominal aortic aneurysms in a broader at-risk population to include women and those younger than 65. According to principle investigator Giampaolo Greco, Ph.D., the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines would capture one-third of these large aneurysms, whereas two-thirds would be identified using the new system.[8]

In partnership with Life Line Screening, Oxford University conducted a clinical research study with data drawn from over 290,000 vascular screenings performed by Life Line Screening between 2008 to 2012 across the UK and Ireland. Results from the study revealed that chronic cardiovascular diseases, including abdominal aortic aneurysm, narrowing of a main artery in the neck, irregular heartbeat and circulatory problems in the legs – occur approximately 10 years earlier in men than women.[9]

Life Line Screening commissioned a study in 2013 that yielded valuable data on cardiovascular disease to other researchers. Information collected from more than 2.7 million health screenings was analyzed by outside researchers and revealed two key findings. The first finding points to the rising rate of peripheral artery disease (PAD) in women, a reflection on the increase in the number of women who smoke. The second finding revealed that people with cardiovascular disease present in one part of the body are more likely to have it in other parts of the body, as well. These study findings were published in the July 2013 edition of Postgraduate Medicine,[10] and were also highlighted in a July 2013 editorial by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.[11]

Another research study, published on April 15 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, used Life Line Screening data from a population-based screening study of more than 3.6 million Americans. Results showed the prevalence of PAD increased from 1 in 50 in the 40-to-50-year-old age group, to nearly 1 in 3 in the 90-to-100-year-old age group. Another finding displayed the prevalence of PAD, carotid artery stenosis (CAS) and AAA was higher not only with overall increased age, but for both men and women. Researchers noted that this association between age and PAD existed for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.[12]

Criticism[edit]

There has been significant debate within the United Kingdom on the desirability of screening by companies such as Life Line Screening. The National Health Service provides screening where it has advantages (for example, for breast cancer in older women) without charge to the patient.[13] It is considered that screening of well people for many conditions may cause more harm than good; for example Richard J. Ablin, who discovered PSA (prostate-specific antigen) told the New York Times newspaper that PSA screening had been a "public health disaster" in the US;[14] screening was followed by the realization that around a third of men operated on would become impotent and a fifth would become incontinent, although most prostate cancers do not kill even if untreated, and the evidence suggests that PSA screening does not reduce death rates.[15]

The counterargument places emphasis on the importance of screening for asymptomatic conditions, such as AAA, PAD, CAS and atrial fibrillation. Many health screenings offered through physicians are only available if symptoms are present. Preventive health screenings through third-party organizations like Life Line Screening, however, give consumers wishing to invest in prevention due to their individual circumstances the ability to turn to local community screenings outside the traditional spectrum. In turn, consumers are increasingly turning to community-based screening to invest in preventive medicine.[16] By partnering with local hospitals and healthcare facilities, the collaboration between community-based care and doctor-office or hospital-based care puts preventive power in the hands of consumers.[17] Furthermore, surveys have indicated that community-based health screenings may be motivating consumers toward improved, healthy lifestyles and higher use of medical resources.[16]

This company and others like it often do not warn people of any restrictions (such as false positives and false negatives) and disadvantages (such as unnecessary distress, and surgical treatment with a significant mortality rate for a potential condition which may not ultimately occur) due to screening.[18] Many healthcare professionals in the UK see them, and similar organisations, as producing misleading advertising and not giving potential customers full and fair information.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bloomberg company overview", Bloomberg
  2. ^ "North Florida Regional Healthcare and Life Line Screening Will Work Together", North Florida Regional Medical Center, March 29, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "BBB Business Review: Life Line Screening", Better Business Bureau, October 1, 1996.
  4. ^ "HVHS teams with Life Line Screening", Pittsburgh Business Times, August 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Raleigh Vascular Practice Partners with Life Line Screening", SB Wire, August 14, 2013.
  6. ^ "Affiliations", St. Joseph Health Mission Hospital
  7. ^ "Lake Norman Regional Announces July Life Line Screenings", Healthylkn, June 21, 2013
  8. ^ a b Kent KC, Zwolak RM, Egorova NN, Riles TS, Manganaro A, Moskowitz AJ, Gilijns AC, Greco G. "Analysis of risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysm in a cohort of more than 3 million individuals", Journal of Vascular Surgery, September 2010
  9. ^ "Life Line Screening and Oxford University Present Preliminary Research Findings on Incidence of Chronic Cardiovascular Disease", BusinessWire, June 13, 2013
  10. ^ “Valuable cardiovascular disease database created by Life Line Screening", Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 28, 2013
  11. ^ “Life Line Screening understands the value of parsing health metadata: editorial", Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 14, 2013
  12. ^ “Study Shows Increase in Prevalence of PAD, CAS and AAA with Advanced Age", American College of Cardiology, April 15, 2013
  13. ^ "Warning over private health scans", BBC, May 2, 2009.
  14. ^ Ablin, Richard J. (10 March 2010). "The Great Prostate Mistake". New York Times. p. A27. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  15. ^ McCartney, M (5 October 2012). "Private health screening tests are oversold and under-explained". The Guardian Web site. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  16. ^ a b “Prevention in Health Care: Reforming the Debate", Huffington Post, May 23, 2013
  17. ^ “Community-Based Screening: Identifying Risk and Motivating Healthy Lifestyle Changes", Journal for Postgraduate Medicine, July 26, 2013
  18. ^ McCartney, M. (2012). "What companies don't tell you about screening". BMJ 344: e2311. doi:10.1136/bmj.e2311. PMID 22457450.  edit
  19. ^ A group of named UK healthcare professionals. "What to think about when you're thinking about screening tests". privatehealthscreen.org. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 

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