Medical Home Testing Kits | Rapid vs. Self Collected vs. In-Person Visit

Submitted by Fantestico on Wed, 03/16/2022 - 12:00.

medical home testing kitsMedical home testing kits are revolutionary in the history of medicine. There are many reasons, but the most essential are availability, ease of access, ease of use, and the ability to get results in less than one hour, sometimes in a few minutes. You can quickly get one from online stores, local pharmacies, or even some tests in general stores. Many illnesses and ailments may be tested, screened, and immediately by a healthcare professional. These tests are called Point of Care (the area where your clinical care is happening) or PoC. In-home testing of medical home test kits is a growing field and refers to medical-grade tests that can be used by non-professionals in the comfort of their own home with the help of these in-home testing kits, like the rapid Covid-19 tests. More recently, many self-collected tests are available and enable you to collect your bodily fluids, blood, urine, stool, semen at home and mail it to a lab for analysis – getting back the results directly to you. Another category of tests that can be ordered online direct by users without their doctor and without medical insurance but performed at the local clinic. Even though many kits don't need a prescription, you should still seek the opinion of your physician or healthcare provider to interpret the lab report or if you have any questions. This blog does not cover PoC testing but the main three online lab testing categories, in-home rapid tests, at-home self-collection, and online order—in-person visit tests.

Rapid tests
The following are examples of rapid medical home testing kits:
•    Pregnancy and ovulation tests
•    Glucose (blood sugar) tests, in order to keep diabetes at bay on a routine basis
•    The fecal occult blood test that does colon cancer screenings
•    Diagnostics for viral illnesses such as hepatitis, HIV, and COVID-19
•    Urine tests to detect kidney and liver metabolites
•    Drug and illegal substances urine tests

Blood, urine, stool, or saliva samples are typically taken at home and applied to a test kit in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Results appear in less than one hour, sometimes in a few minutes or even seconds. These in-home testing kits are designed for self-reading and, in many cases, are qualitative (provides a yes/no answer without having a precise level). These in-home testing kits are accurate.

Self-collected tests
Some tests provide findings right away, while others must be sent to a lab through the mail (either regular postal service like USPS or using a carrier) for professional analysis. These are the self-collected tests. The most known self-collected are ancestry genetic testing that required only saliva samples.
The following are examples of self-collected testing kits:
•    Ancestry DNA 
•    Genetic testing may reveal whether you have a greater than average likelihood of contracting a particular disease.
•    The fecal occult blood test that does colon cancer screenings
•    Vitamin levels, like vitamin D or the vitamin B complex
•    Lipid Panels
•    Hormones
•    Thyroid Function tests

Order online—collect in a patient service station or a clinic
The third category of tests that are called online lab tests are tests that you can order online without a visit to your physician and without a prescription (in many cases, if a prescription is needed, the lab will obtain it for you). Most of these tests that can be ordered online but require an in-person visit are based on blood and cannot yet be self-collected at home as either they need a higher blood volume than a few drops of blood that the self-collected kits use. In other cases, an healthcare professional collection is needed to obtain quantitative and more precise results. Sometimes, lab provider policy and similar tests can be self-collected by other lab providers. It is easy to filter the test location on the Fantestico results page. 

The following are examples of order online—in-person visit test
•    Complete Blood Count (CBC)
•    Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
•    Liver enzymes
Many diagnostics manufacturers and lab providers are constantly working on developing new methods of sample collection analysis with the ultimate goal of eventually having all tests be rapid medical home testing kits.

How Do I Use a Medical Home Testing Kit?
The instructions of use can differ as per the brand and specific kit. The most common examples for rapid Medical Home Testing Kits are given below:
Pregnancy Test
It is a kit based on a hormone named human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), only produced when one is pregnant. A strip is held in the urine stream or collected in a container with the testing kit. If you are pregnant, it will show a colored strip, double line, or symbol (plus sign).

Ovulation Test
Women who want to get pregnant can benefit from ovulation tests. It is a kit based on a hormone named Luteinizing Hormone (LH). The production of LH is regulated by the gonadotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus. In females, an acute rise of LH triggers ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum. Like in-home testing kits for pregnancy, this kit uses urine and rapid strips.

Glucose Test
This test kit can be a life-saving kit. As you know, the levels of sugars and controlling it can make a big difference in health if the sugar gets too high or too low. On the other hand, it can be life-threatening. A needle will puncture your fingertip to get a few drops of your blood sample. Then, you'll just add that drop of blood into the strip and then put it in the device. You'll get an accurate result telling you the sugar levels in your blood.

HIV Test in Home
OraQuick® is the first In-Home HIV Test and the only oral fluid rapid HIV test approved by the FDA in the U.S. It can detect antibodies to both HIV‑1 and HIV‑2 with an oral swab, providing a confidential in‑home testing option with results in as little as 20 minutes. The test kit comes with extensive resources and support, including access to a "live" toll‑free customer support center and a comprehensive consumer website.

Fecal occult blood test
Although most tests for hidden blood in your intestine or fecal occult blood test are collected at home and require the user to send it to a lab for analysis, the Instant-view Plus Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Test is a medical in-home Stool Test for Colorectal Diseases with results obtained from one drop of stool in 1 minute.

Urinalysis and UTI
Read directly from your urine sample by dipping sticks (dipsticks) are very common for checking several health parameters related to your kidney and liver health as well as Urinary tract infections (UTI). A dipstick is a thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals on it — when it is placed in urine, the chemical strips change color if certain substances are present or if their levels are above typical levels. The strips read up can be done by either a visual exam by you or by using an automated strip reader to reduce subjective readings. Many in-home urine testing kits are available from various manufacturers enabling you to get immediate results and take relevant actions.
Drug screening Tests
Like urinalysis and UTI, urine lab testing for drugs can be done by dipsticks and is available by multiple manufacturers, enabling full privacy on this more sensitive matter.

Covid Tests
Following glucose and pregnancy testing, the most well-known rapid medical home test kits are tested for Covid-19. Both in-home antigen rapid and in-home PCR tests are available and provide results within 15-30 minutes. These tests became highly used during the Covid-19 pandemic and demonstrate the new direction the diagnostics industry is heading.

How do I use a self-collected test at home?
Depending on the required sample type, you would be instructed to collect either saliva, urine, stool, blood, or another type of specimen like a vaginal swab. There are many types of collection kits and each lab and brand may use a different one. To ensure sample stability and integrity, you should follow the instructions and ship it back for analysis within the specified time. There are many tests that can be collected at home and then be analyzed at the lab. Below are a few examples for each type of sample. Today, over 100 different lab tests can be performed using a self-collected kit at home that will be sent to the lab for analysis.

Fecal Occult Blood Test
Screening for colon cancer is easily possible with this test. The technique is relatively easy and painless. Simply you need to get a sample of your stool and place it on a card. After you are done with it, seal it and send it to the diagnostic center. The stool will be checked for any abnormalities, and you will get the results within some days.

Hormones and vitamins Tests
Hormones and vitamins are relatively stable and are collected at home via a fingerprick blood collection and sent to a lab for analysis. The most common at-home self-collected tests are Sex hormones like testosterone and progesterone, Thyroid functions hormones such as TSH,  vitamin D, vitamin B-12, folate, vitamin B6,

Allergy and Food Sensitivity Tests
Allergy and food sensitivity tests measure IgE and IgG antibodies respectively, which are stable for home collection and shipment to a lab for analysis.

Lipid Panel
Lipids are also stable molecules, and most lipid panels can be offered using medical home testing kits for blood collection.

To determine whether you have chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, and other sexually related infections now or even have had it previously, many lab providers are offering Sexually Transmitted disease (STD), sometimes also called Sexual Transmitted Infections (STI) Depends on the type of infection you would need either to collect your urine at home and ship it to the lab for analysis. With other tests for infectious which are more prevalent in blood, first, a needle will puncture your fingertip to acquire a blood sample. Next, you collect a blood sample on a sheet provided by the collection device or card. Finally, seal and ship the collected sample to a lab. It will notify you of the findings.
Genetic Tests
Look for specific genetic variants that enhance your risk of cancer or other diseases. Genetic testing may also reveal ancestry. These tests compare your DNA to large groups of people. Most genetic test kits need a saliva sample or a cheek swab. Then, you'll submit the sample to the lab via regular postal services.

How do I order lab tests online which require in-person clinic collection?
Still, the majority of lab work is collected and done in a clinical setting. More than 2000 lab tests can be done and these tests are not limited to the ability to get FDA approval for in-home testing or to some limitations of self-collected tests. Many lab providers are offered the ability to order these tests online without visiting your doctor and without your medical insurance. In many cases, you would be able to use your HSA/FSA to pay for these tests. Many labs offer consultation services with a physician to review your test results. This option enables you to save time as you can order these tests without the need to set up an appointment with your doctor saving your time and co-payment.
If you consider being proactive and taking a test by yourself medical home testing kits to check your routine health parameters, discover a certain condition, disease or to determine your risk of developing an illness, read the instruction carefully to realize first if this is a rapid test using in-home testing kits, at-home sample collection kits that you will need to send to the lab for analysis or a test that can be ordered online by the collection process require your in-person visit to a clinic or healthcare facility. If you are not sure what fits best your need, you should consult with your healthcare provider first. Ordering online medical home testing kits is an excellent way to control your health as if a home test reveals that you may be at increased risk, your discussion with your healthcare provider will be more fruitful and they will be able to monitor your health more carefully without the need to wait for your results and have an additional in-person on telehealth appointment

Are you well informed on the differences between rapid, self-collected, and in-person medical testing kits that can be ordered online?