Sunday, October 18, 2015


INC. magazine is featuring Henry Kissinger-connected Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, on the cover of its current issue.,,as the next Steve Jobs!!!

At the same time, WSJ has serious questions about the claims being made by Theranos about their diagnostic testing products.

1 comment:

  1. Theranos Trouble: A First Person Account

    I write the CEO with facts and figures (and supporting documents), and request a response:

    Dear Ms. Holmes,

    A brief word of introduction:
    I’m a 71 years old male, a customer of yours with a mild PCV condition treated by moderate doses of hydroxyurea (hydrea) and occasional 500ml phlebotomies.
    I’m also a techie and, among other things in 47 years in the tech industry, I once ran Apple’s Engineering in Cupertino. I’m compulsively curious, I like innovative technologies and was inevitably attracted to Theranos.

    Now, the facts:

    On June 29th I went to the Hematology lab at Stanford for routine CBC and Metabolites numbers.
    As I walked back to Palo Alto, I stopped by my doctor’s office, got an order, went to the Theranos office at Walgreens on University Avenue in Palo Alto and got a CBC test.
    Taken one hour apart, the Stanford and Theranos HCT numbers differ by about 7%: 44.1 Theranos vs. Stanford 41.1.
    For platelets, the difference is even wider: Theranos 430 vs. Stanford 320
    Intrigued, I got a new order and went back to Theranos the following day, on June 30th.
    Theranos numbers were markedly different 24 hours later: HCT 40.6; PLT 375
    Just to make sure, I went back to Stanford for a second test today July 1st.
    Stanford HCT 41.7; PLT 297
    I find the price and convenience of Theranos services attractive, but I worry about the reliability of the important HCT number.
    What is the confidence interval in your measurement? + or – 1 point? + or – 5 points? I do get a phlebotomy at 45. How should I look at your June 29th 44.1 HCT number?

    I’m curious to hear more about your methodology, standards and quality controls and would like to give you an opportunity to respond before I write a Monday Note on the broader topic of lab exams and other healthcare mysteries.

    (Last but less important, setting up an account, getting the app to work was difficult, several system errors, unfriendly UI…)

    Best regards,

    —Jean-Louis Gassée

    You can guess what happened: Nothing, no response. I shrugged it off and went on to other topics, but the question nagged at me. Theranos’ stated aim — inexpensive, painless blood tests — is admirable and, I hope, achievable. Consider my spouse’s recent blood test adventure…