Spokane Journal of Business

PAML creates new division for age-management testing

Aion to compete nationwide in growing medical field

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Spokane-based Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories LLC has launched a new testing division named Aion Laboratories, which specializes in diagnostics in the growing field of age-management medicine, says Patty Sipes, PAML senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Aion, which is named for the Greek god of eternity, provides a full spectrum of laboratory testing to age-management physicians and clinics across the country, Sipes says.

The laboratory is based in PAML's flagship facilities at 611 N. Iron Bridge Way on the Iron Bridge Office Campus east of downtown. Aion also has established partnerships with highly specialized laboratories for proprietary tests that complement its services, Sipes says.

She declines to disclose how many of PAML's 1,800 employees will be dedicated to the Aion division, except to say that Aion's employee numbers will vary depending on the volume of testing.

Physicians can use the age-management diagnostics to detect risk factors and biological traits associated with aging, Sipes says. Age-related tests include assessments for thyroid, lipids, cardiovascular risk, menopause, diabetes, metabolism, and inflammation. Tests also include some genetic risk factor assessments.

PAML hadn't offered most of the tests before creating Aion, which will serve a new niche for the company, she says.

"They're very specific tests that age-management doctors prefer," Sipes says. "They are quite unique, and the general population isn't interested in them."

Patients who turn to age-management medicine typically are between 45 and 72 years old, Sipes says, adding "They are looking at trying to be at the optimum biological age of 27 to 30 years old."

Aion's testing provides insight into a person's biological age, including risk factors that warrant treatment, enabling physicians to help patients enhance their health and improve physical performance beyond statistical expectancy, Aion's website claims.

Age-management medicine was pioneered by Cenegenics, a large Las Vegas-based medical practice, which is affiliated with the University of Nevada Medical School, Sipes says.

The specialty is now known and practiced across the country, and Aion will market its services nationwide, including in states not currently served by PAML, she says.

"We formulated our menu specifically to make sure our product is competitive," Sipes says.

Aion also has formulated a requisition system that enables doctors to order a variety of tests, including proprietary tests, on one form.

"Physicians like to have all key tests on one requisition," Sipes says. "We're making it easy for physicians to order tests—even for certain tests that are proprietary that might go out to another lab. If it needs to be forwarded, physicians don't have to worry about filling out several sheets of paper."

Aion also provides phlebotomy services for providers that don't have in-house blood-drawing personnel. "That's something new for us," Sipes says. "It's more of a convenience factor. If someone wants testing done, we will go to someone's home or office to draw blood."

Sipes says PAML and other reference labs are seeing a lot of changes, including decreases in reimbursement under the Affordable Health Care Act.

"We're looking for ways to diversify our options," she says. "Making sure our offerings are fresh and in line with current trends is how we will have longevity."

Mike McLean
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Deputy Editor Mike McLean has worked his entire journalism career in the Inland Northwest. Mike, who also lives to reel in fish and crank up music, has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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