Lab adds patient value to clinic

Camas clinic focused on treatment of asthma and allergy sufferers

When allergy season gets into full swing this year, sufferers will have a new resource to turn to in Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic. Dr. Sanjeev Jain opened the clinic in November 2005.

Previously, Jain was an assistant professor at the University of Washington Medical School and staff physician at UW Medical Center in Seattle. Jain and his family moved to Southwest Washington when his wife took a position in the radiology department at Southwest Washington Medical Center. Jain began focusing on establishing his own clinic, something he had always wanted to do.

Jain chose a 3,500 square-foot office in The Glen business development on 196th Avenue in Camas.
Allergies are a common condition, said Jain, and there are few specialists in the area to treat the county’s growing population. Until two years ago, there were no allergy specialists in the county, he said.

“Asthma and allergy incidences are rising rapidly,” said Jain. “There is a great unmet need for asthma and allergy care.”

About 20 percent of people have allergy symptoms and as many as 10 percent of the population suffers from asthma. Most, however, do not seek the proper preventative care, which is why Jain expects a spike in patients when allergy season hits.

More serious conditions lead to hospitalization. Jain said 500,000 people are admitted to a hospital each year because of asthma. Jain said his practice focuses on long-term treatment, versus acute treatment, and creating personalized plans to prevent future complications.

Jain said the response so far has been positive, with a lot of business coming by word-of-mouth from satisfied patients.

“That is the most rewarding part,” said Jain.

Jain knew there were elements he wanted to include in his clinic that had not been available at practices he had worked at before. In particular is the recent addition of the clinic’s on-site lab to analyze patients’ blood tests, which is unique to any other clinic in the metro area.

Patients can be tested for allergies in two ways, through a skin test or a blood test. Each has their strengths and weaknesses depending on a patient’s condition, said Jain. The problem with blood testing is that samples typically have to be sent to outside labs, usually in California or Utah. Results can take weeks to obtain and tests are limited by the lab’s specifications. With its in-house lab, Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic guarantees results within 24 hours and tests can be customized.

Jain invested $100,000 in equipment and dedicated 500 square feet for the lab. An experienced technician was also hired to run the lab. Meeting the proper licensing requirements for the lab was the biggest hurdle and the reason most specialists do not have a lab facility, said Jain.

“It’s a very cumbersome process and took a fair amount of time,” said Jain.

The clinic will also process lab results for clinics and medical facilities throughout the region, which has the potential to become a significant part of the business, he said.

Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic also has extended-stay rooms, where patients that need to stay for five to six hours for observation can be comfortable.

Jain said his market research showed there are 100,000 people within a 10-minute drive of the clinic, many of whom could likely benefit from his services. The clinic has five employees presently.

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