Pain-Free Blood-Drawing Device On The Horizon

January 13, 2017

A new and virtually painless way to draw blood for lab testing has the potential to replace the more than 400 million needle blood draws performed each year in the United States.  The Touch Activated Phlebotomy, or TAP, device, presented at the Consumer Technology Association 2017 Digital Health Summit in Las Vegas, could completely eliminate the need for tourniquets and needles, according to the company.  With TAP, a healthcare provider places the device, which is about the size of a golf ball, on the patient’s upper arm and then pushes a button, activating 30 thin needles that penetrate the uppermost layers of the skin. The resulting micropunctures do not hurt, according to presentation volunteer Mike Feibus, who is a tech columnist at USA Today and Fortune.  The company also plans to enhance the capabilities of TAP by integrating a digital chip; this could dramatically change how blood is collected. For example, it could time-stamp a blood sample, which would be helpful when patients in remote areas have to mail their samples to a lab.