Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Atkins.
Maria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started my company about three years ago. The funny part is that I actually started planning it two years prior to starting. I was afraid of stepping out on my own as a business owner so I procrastinated by researching everything. When I got started, I just wanted to find a way to help people save time when it was time for their labs. At the time, I worked for a larger lab and I would see moms with newborn babies and small children walk in an sit for hours waiting to get bloodwork done. People were all over the place coughing and in the mom’s face; not to mention the germs associated with being in the lab. I put myself in the mom’s place and found it to be stressful so I came up with the solution that almost stayed an idea. I sincerely wanted to find a solution to help moms and children. It was disappointing to see parents with their children wait for over an hour to get blood work. They were treated like a number and received no individualized care. It was hurry up and get them in so we can get them out. This in itself was heart breaking, knowing that these kids would grow up to be adults with needles phobias and anxiety. I felt like the traditional lab approach wasn’t doing children and others with anxiety any justice for working toward their health goals.
After seeing this for a few years and developing my craft, I figured that I could better serve this population. By the time I started the business I had actually developed my craft to the point that I was the “go to person” for pediatric draws and harder sticks. I was very good with getting kids to calm down and getting the blood from patients with hard to stick veins. I loved the thrill of the job and the feeling of accomplishment when I was able to get the blood on the first stick.
Has it been a smooth road?
When I first started doing blood draws in the patients home it was not smooth at all. When I first got started my husband and I made an agreement that if I got no patients in the first year that I would close up shop. The first six months I got no patients so of course you know that puts you on edge seeing that you may have to stop pursuing your dreams. The second 6 months was a little nicer because I got three patients. I was ecstatic when I got my first patient but it wasn’t successful. When I drew this patient, she was positioned awkwardly and needless to say it wasn’t successful. I was so disappointed that I almost quit after that. It was at that point I decided to stick to what I knew and stop trying to be fancy. By the time I got my second patient, I had worked out the process in my head and it went way smoother than the first. I regained my confidence and decided to focus my attention on my craft and how to properly market my unique service.
Marketing was another beast that I had to learn to tackle because I had to figure out how to properly articulate what my message was and how I could serve my clients more efficiently. I ultimately learned that my passion would speak for me like no words ever could. After a while, the families I served started taking pictures of me working with them or their children. This was great because they say a picture is worth a thousand words and it definitely helped people see the passion on my face during patient interactions. The other thing it showed was the level of engagement I was able to get with my patients. People wanted to have a phlebotomist that not only had great bedside manner but also offered an opportunity for them to feel human and not like a number in a cattle calling event.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the PediaLabs story. Tell us more about the business.
My company is a concierge phlebotomy service. We provide phlebotomy services to all ages but we specialize in children, persons with disabilities, and people who have anxieties toward blood draws, We are known for making the phlebotomy process feel more friendly due to our approach to the field. We have been complimented on various occasions on our ability to relieve the stress of our little patients and their parents. Many of our patients and their families have expressed how stressful blood draws can be and how they appreciate that were have been able to put a spin on what was once a scary process.
The one thing that started to resonate with me was that drawing patients in their home not only helped with their anxiety but it allowed my to cater my approach to their needs versus a company metric. I believe that the individualized approach helps develop a rapport with my patients and also helps them to relax before the draw.
As a company, I am proud to say that we have made an impact on hundreds of children by offering a service that caters to them. We have had patients that we’re terrified of getting their blood drawn at our first meeting but after a few visits they stick their arms out in confidence. We have made what was once a scary process a learning opportunity for children and adults. Phlebotomy is a profession that many people have had an interaction with but don’t quite understand unless they have dealt with it in on an extensive basis. People know they have to get blood taken from their body but understanding the science behind it has created a bigger impact. I think this has set us apart from everyone else because we actually take into consideration the feelings and emotions of the person on the opposite end of the needle. We understand that they don’t have the extensive background that we have but we can make the experience more accommodating for our patients.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The phlebotomy industry is changing as we speak. I think there will be more mobile companies in various capacities opening up due to the consumer wanting to have more control of their time and the final product received. With that being said, we are diversifying by adding more services to our menu. Some of those services are DNA testing, notary services, and phlebotomy consulting for physicians who want someone to manage their laboratory platform and patient resulting system. With the world going so fast people are wanting more things on the go because time is the one thing that we are not granted in excess. Many of the families and businesses I serve have busy schedules and are seeking to find a way to accommodate that schedule without impacting their family or business time. As things change, we hope to acquire a full facility to dispatch and serve the needs of all of our clients. We are definitely hopeful about becoming a more recognized brand in the Valley.
- Routine In Home Blood Draw – $65
- Stat In Home Blood Draw – $75
- Sneak Peek Gender Reveal Test – Pricing starts at $129
- Newborn Screens – $50
- Non-Invasive Paternity Testing – Sale $1,700 (with the mention of this article)
- DNA Origins – $200
- Infidelity DNA Testing – $250
National Kidney Association