Ever wonder if the ailments you’re experiencing may be the result of vitamin deficiency? Changes in your hormone levels? Perhaps the early signs of a more serious medical condition?
Are you curious if you’re at risk for a type of cancer that your parents experienced? And if so, when you should start taking preventative measures against it?
Reasons like these are partly why home health test kits have become an efficient and effective solution. With our increasingly busy lives, a doctor’s appointment, in addition to a lab visit, can be tough to squeeze into our schedule. Plus, paying a copay to visit a doctor when you already know what lab test(s) you need, may seem unnecessary.
Most home health tests can be purchased online and sent to the patient within days. After following some user-friendly instructions to collect a sample, and mailing the sample back, patients then receive results directly, rather than waiting to hear back from a lab or doctor’s office. For some patients, the results of these tests allow them to take preventative measures against diseases and conditions they may be at an increased risk of having. Others feel home health tests allow them to take a more proactive stance in their health and wellness.
From testing food sensitivity to analyzing genes, the types of home health tests vary greatly. As does the cost—anywhere from roughly $50 to $600, depending on the test. Common subjects to test include hormones; vitamin deficiencies; essential and toxic elements; sugar levels; STDs; genetic health risks, carrier status and drug efficacy using DNA testing; and more.
A list of the more popular tests available:
- Food sensitivity
- Thyroid test
- Cholesterol and lipids
- Heart health
- Metabolic health
- DNA health testing
- DNA ancestry testing
- Testosterone test
- Breast milk DHA
- Men’s and women’s health
- Vitamin D home test
- Heavy metal testing
- Sleep and stress
- Multiple sclerosis
- HbA1c glucose control
Certified Labs and Strong Reviews
Most of the companies who offer home health tests boast strong reviews. Collected samples are sent to labs that are certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). This means the labs, as well as those who work there and perform the tests, must meet specific quality standards. This also means the labs met standards ensuring the reliability and accuracy of test results. Some labs have other accreditations as well.
Discuss Results with a Healthcare Professional
Companies also promise easy-to-read results, so patients can interpret their own scores. Many companies state that a medical professional or a board-certified physician reviews the results before sending them to the patient. And in some companies, a registered nurse or a board-certified genetic counselor will contact the patient regarding results. Often the results include advice and insights to assist patients in improving their wellness.
That being said, every company advises patients that testing is for wellness monitoring, personal information and education purposes. With the exception of a few tests, such as those that check for STDs, the tests are not meant to diagnose or treat diseases. Companies also advise patients against substituting a physician’s consultation with a home health test. Instead, they encourage patients to share the test results with their primary care provider. In some instances, the tests are ordered by the patient’s physician so both patient and physician will receive results. Companies stress the importance of reviewing the results with a physician in order to create a prevention or treatment plan best suited for the patient.
Tests can be purchased online and sent to your home, unless you live in states that have medical regulations that at the moment prohibit the health tests. Many tests are covered by HSA and FSA plans, but most are not covered by insurance plans. Because of the large variety of insurance policies, companies advise patients to check with their insurance provider to discuss coverage.
Collecting Your Sample
Once the test kit arrives at your home, you can collect the sample. First, read the included instructions carefully to learn how best to collect the sample. There are usually detailed videos on a company’s website about sample collection as well. Depending on the type of test, samples may include saliva, urine, blood, breast milk, or stool.
Submitting to the Lab
After collecting the sample, follow the instructions for how to package it before mailing it back in the prepaid envelope. Tests are usually received in a few days and results posted in 3-5 business days after that. However, it may take up to 8 weeks to see the results from DNA testing.
All companies make privacy a priority. Prepaid envelopes are often unmarked so as to ensure privacy.
Receiving the Results
Results are either sent to your personal email or posted to the company’s secure online platform. Most credible companies comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards about the protection of health information. Results will only be sent to the patient and the physician (if applicable) who ordered the test. They will not be shared with the patient’s employer, insurance company, or other medical professionals or healthcare providers unless the patient gives his or her consent.
Home health test kits allow patients to take ownership and a proactive stance over their health and wellness. The flexibility of ordering the test and collecting the sample at your own home and on your own time is incredibly appealing. For many patients, home health tests grant the accessibility to medical information they thought only physicians could have. The results can encourage patients to have honest conversations with their doctors about ways to improve their health and prevent medical conditions and diseases.