Lab testing can be an appalling customer experience for so many people. Coupled with waiting for the results–which in some cases take weeks to show up–they can be expensive. Furthermore, some test results are even sent to recipients online, and not everyone can understand them since they weren't originally intended to be seen by patients themselves. This confusion is certainly unhelpful when you're sitting alone at home, worrying about your health.
These are just some of the reasons for the increase in the popularity of at-home blood testing options. With these kits, the customer receives detailed instructions on how to run an effective test and interpret the results as soon as they arrive. Now, all the agony of attending a clinic for testing and then waiting for the results is eliminated, and the patient can go about their other businesses while waiting for the results from the comfort of home.
To delve into the rationale behind at-home lab testing, one in three adults ignores their doctor's orders to get lab tests because of the inconvenience and/or the price.
This information is based on a survey conducted by The Harris Poll. If you fall into this category, you should know more about the at-home blood testing options available to you–because not only are at-home blood tests affordable for most people, but they could not possibly be more convenient.
At-Home Blood Testing: An Increasingly Popular Option
At-home tests are a booming market primarily because they are affordable compared to tests conducted in a laboratory. Furthermore, they provide you with the appealing possibility of understanding your health status in your own environment–and, importantly, at your own pace. The way home blood testing is done means there are no horrible surprises, at least not in terms of the results arriving when you least expect or want them. You're always in control.
If they're available on a Friday night and you're just about to attend your daughter's wedding, nobody will make you view them. Access the results where you want. When you want.
A high level of convenience is always offered by at-home blood tests, since you simply choose a test kit and follow the instructions. All the equipment needed for sterile collection is included in your kit, and you'll find that since these tests were set up specifically with you in mind–i.e., the patient, not a doctor–most at-home test providers offer highly responsive and friendly customer support.
Campaigns and advertisements about the use of at-home blood testing options have also contributed to their popularity today. In the current digital and social media age, these marketing messages and campaigns about all the blood-testing options have managed to reach a vast target audience.
According to Bloomberg, at-home blood testing options mean that even those people in remote or rural areas can access medical healthcare that they'd otherwise not have received. Statistics have backed the claims of the rapid expansion of the at-home blood testing options market.
The global digital diabetes market alone, for example, is projected to be worth just under $16.5 million by 2026 and according to Market Watch, the global blood testing market for associated test kits is anticipated to reach $65.5 million by 2026.
The largest market growth has been recorded in the North American region, where it's been attributed to many factors; these include the increased awareness of the benefits of at-home diabetes monitoring kits, increased disease prevalence, better access to technology, and the presence of well-established distribution channels.
This rapid growth of at-home blood testing kits means it's useful to know all the salient points. So, here are the top 5 things to know about at-home blood tests.
Using at-Home Blood Testing Options: 5 Things You Should Know
Results May Differ by Age Groups
When conducting a self blood test at home, keep in mind that some blood metrics vary across different age groups and that most importantly, physicians may interpret certain results according to the patient's age and other factors.
For example, hemoglobin levels are lower for children and higher for adults and both calcium and cholesterol levels can vary as a person ages.
Therefore, there's not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach so do not be alarmed when you get a certain result if you're uncertain about what it means. You can always call your doctor for clarification of the test outcomes.
It's also well worth asking the testing company any generalized queries; they employ all the relevant professionals to present results in a user-friendly manner–although please note they cannot usually discuss your individual case and clinical history. You'll need your doctor for that.
Illnesses (& Other Factors) Can Affect Results
In some cases, a prevalent illness–one unrelated to what you're testing for–may or may not affect the blood test. Read all the available information and call the testing company if you're unsure.
Keep in mind, too, that some test outcomes could be triggered by your habits and activity before taking it. For example, if you take a glucose blood test after eating something sugary, this will be reflected in the results. If you feel alarmed or confused after interpreting a test, consult your doctor to know how and whether a certain illness or habit affects the results, and in what way.
Different Tests Need More Blood
If you have taken a blood lab test before, you may have noticed that sample tubes have different color caps. This means the amount of blood required for a certain test may be different than for another test.
Similarly, with at-home blood tests, it's the same.
The amount of blood you draw from your body for an HIV test, for example, may not be the same as you require for a glucose test. Thus, you must read the instructions carefully before administering the test. There is no point conducting a home test and messing it up–but if you read the instructions, it will be easy. We promise!
That is the beauty of at-home blood testing; it's really quite hard to get it wrong unless you just wade in without reading the user guidelines first.
False Results are Possible
Some tests can also be flawed. In this case, flawed simply means getting a false-negative or false-positive result. For example, some viruses do not present themselves in blood immediately, while other diseases commonly have a proportion of sero-negative (not showing in blood) results, which is quite a normal event for that disease or condition.
So, always consult your doctor for advice on repeating the test if you still feel the presence of symptoms.
Always Ask if Uncertain
As we pointed out earlier, most at-home blood testing options offer 24-hour customer support that you can reach when you need guidance. Besides, most numbers used to reach them are toll-free. Thus, there's no reason why you should postpone asking about something you are not sure about.
Things to Ask Before Considering a Home Self-Test
According to Consumer Reports, not all at-home tests are accurate although they are certainly a big boost to the majority of users and the prevalence of correct results will far outstrip erroneous ones. (In fact, even in the clinical setting, a % of results will also be erroneous–that's the nature of testing in general).
The point about using home self-tests is that they make it so easy for you to get a first indicator cheaply and efficiently; after that, you can take your findings to a doctor for follow-up discussions or confirmation. It's a little like a home pregnancy test in that regard; you'd do your first confirmation test at home, but almost everyone gets a doctor to double-check it.
So, you should not downplay the role of healthcare providers even when using these tests. For this reason, always assess your readiness for a self blood test by asking yourself these questions first:
· Will the test save me a trip to the doctor? If the answer's no, this test might not save you any coins or time. But it might still be handy to have, for example, to get information to take to a doctor who hasn't been listening to you or where you like to keep regular tabs on a diagnosed condition yourself.
· Do I know what I will do with the results? If not,discuss it with your doctor so you can make real use of your test results.
· Is the test FDA-approved?
· Does my doctor think a self-test is a good idea? If your doctor does not like the idea of you self-testing, it may be because–as an example-you are a worrier or you usually need more support and advice surrounding a test. You will need your doctor's support depending on the test results so it's best to ask what is the best means of testing (for you specifically).
There will certainly be many more questions, but you should at least know the answers to the above before buying your test.
Examples of Home Tests
I've personally tried out the imaware at-home blood test, which is a screening test for diagnosing celiac disease. It is an easy-to-use kit that generates accurate results. It takes only 2-3 minutes to follow the instructions then you send back the kit to the company (comes with prepaid shipping label!). Besides, teh test results are easy to interpret and report. So I really recommend this company!
The modern-day consumer appreciates good value, privacy and convenience, three important things at-home blood testing options are known to offer.
Because of this, statistics indicate that the at-home blood tests market has been expanding rapidly and is projected to continue growing within the next half a decade.
If you've always wanted to buy a self-test kit, do keep in mind the pointers addressed in this post, but we're sure you'll see so many advantages of trying this option over yet another visit to the lab.