One of the greatest fears among patients is that a serious condition such as cancer is not picked up until it's too late.
If life-threatening diseases could be tested simply, quickly and cheaply - without invasive procedures and weeks of waiting - the benefits for healthcare providers would be substantial. Plus patients would welcome the increased peace of mind an early diagnosis would bring.
The financial impact of missing an early diagnosis is also significant. Finding cancer early in the U.K. could save the country's National Health Service around £210 million ($336 million) a year in treatment costs, according to research published by Incisive Heath and Cancer Research UK in September.
One company aiming to solve this issue is Miroculus, a start-up which has created technology it says can detect multiple of cancers with a standard blood test that can be used in a GP's surgery – or even someone's home.