Critical Lens on Wellness Trends: At Home Lab Tests
Fast and convenient: two words that can always be used to describe the 21st century. People are shifting towards a more technological world where with the click of a button you can get almost anything delivered to your home quickly, and avoid getting in the car and going yourself. The pandemic has definitely helped spark this movement, as a lot of people weren’t able to leave their homes to get necessities. Now, instead of having to go see a doctor in person, companies have come out with at home lab tests that allow people to test themselves for various things while in the comfort of their own home.
- At home lab tests are a new option for determining conditions and needs in your body without scheduling an appointment.
- At home lab tests are super fast and have detailed instructions on how to use them.
- The tests are mostly cost-efficient, and can have big discounts.
Game changing technology
Most at home lab tests can be bought at local pharmacies, supermarkets, and most commonly, shipped from online. These tests are a game changer for helping people find certain disorders, abnormalities in the body, and simply test aspects of your wellness without having to go to a doctor. These tests are easy, fast, and convenient, especially for busy people.
Popular and safe brands of these at home lab tests include:
- GoodRX Care
- Quest Direct
How do at home lab tests work?
A lot of these tests work the same in terms of how they ship it to you and the steps it takes to get the results. A specific trending brand of at home lab tests called Everlywell works by being shipped right to your home within 3-4 days. After the test is received you have to register the test to an account created online. Once the test is registered, follow the instructions to submit a specific body fluid based on the test and send it to their lab with an already paid shipping label! Receive the physician reviewed results in just days and get useful insight into the data.
Each test states specifically what it is testing you for and the step-by-step directions of how to complete them. On top of the instructions, most tests have a phone number on the box that you can call at any time to ask questions or help with any concerns. These tests also are HIPPA compliant, which means that none of your results will be shared and all your data will be stored securely.
What can you test for?
Your own personal lab to test for almost anything you want. The tests that companies, like Everlywell ,provide include, but are not limited to:
- Food sensitivity
- Metabolism stats
- Women’s health
- Thyroid health
- Sleep and stress
- Lyme disease
These are just a few of what these innovative tests can screen for! And the best part about it is that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to be tested.
These tests are great for people that may be worried about seeing someone in person about their condition. Instead of waiting to get an appointment and then wait for the results, at home tests allow you to ease your anxiety and get your results in the fastest way possible.
Are they cost-efficient?
Yes! These tests are not at all crazy expensive like you’d probably think. They range in price depending on the type of test, and tend to cost close to what a doctor's office would cost.
The main downside of these tests is that a lot of them are not covered by insurance due to them being relatively new. However, most of these test sites have many promo offers throughout the months that allow you to get the tests at a discount!! Because who doesn’t love building your own personal doctor's office in your home, AND getting money off… the best of both worlds.
Are they effective and safe?
Avoiding the doctor's office while still having the tools to screen your health sounds amazing! But how reliable are these at home tests? Compiled below is a short list of concerns medical professionals have when it comes to at home testing.
- Inaccurate testing
Many medical professionals state that they don’t necessarily believe the tests are flawed, however they predict that many people may test themselves the wrong way. They worry this can lead to false results and potentially hurt someone in the long run.
- Misinterpreting test results
Even if the test is accurate and completed correctly, doctors still warn that the patient may not understand their results fully. When you go see a doctor and they do blood work or any sort of test, the results land in their hands first and allow them to analyze the data to fully explain the results to the patient. Sure, most of these at home testing brands describe the results, but the argument is that a doctor and patient should continue to have open dialogue to answer any questions or concerns about the results, and an at home test cannot provide that same service.
Despite these two concerns, the average consensus across the medical field is that at home tests are effective and safe. There is no immediate harm to anyone who uses at home tests, however medical professionals strongly advise that you verify that the test was thoroughly checked by the Food and Drug Administration for accuracy, reliability, and safety in clinical trials.
Some of these tests also send many follow up notifications after the results get sent back to check up on you, and even suggest going to an actual doctor for a second round of test results depending on the outcome.
Overall, at home lab tests are perfect for people who are super busy or people who want to avoid the germs of an actual lab all together. At home lab tests are super safe and provide an effective and more efficient way to health screen. Besides the few concerns medical professionals may have about these tests, the benefits definitely outweigh the cons.
Always make sure to read the directions carefully, and take full advantage of the hotline the company offers to people who have questions. Now everyone has the chance to experience what it's like to be your own personal physician, without the long years of medical school!!
Written by Emma Carlson