Home Testing in 2024: A detailed overview for a healthier, digital lifestyle.

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What is Home Testing?

Home testing refers to the practice of conducting various medical tests in the comfort of your own home, without the need for a healthcare professional or a laboratory facility. These tests typically involve using specialized kits or devices that allow you to collect samples, such as blood, urine, or saliva, and then provide the necessary materials for analysis.

Home testing has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its convenience and accessibility. This trend was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which limited access to routine health facilities. Home testing can be a valuable tool, whether you’re looking to monitor your health, check for a specific condition, or simply gain more control over your well-being. In this ultimate guide, we will explore everything you’ve ever wanted to know about home testing, including its benefits, the types of tests available, how to choose the right test, and more. Let’s dive in!

Benefits of Home Testing

There are several benefits to home testing that make it an appealing option for many individuals:

  • Convenience: Home testing eliminates the need for scheduling appointments, travelling to healthcare facilities, and waiting for test results. It allows you to take control of your health on your own terms and at your own pace.
  • Privacy: For those who prefer to keep their health matters private, home testing provides a discreet alternative to traditional testing methods. This is particularly applicable to STD and HIV testing.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Home testing can often be a more affordable option compared to in-person testing, especially when it comes to routine monitoring or screening tests. For folks without health insurance home testing can be a critical lifeline.

Why home testing is  increasing

Aside from the benefits listed above, rapid technological advances have made it possible to offer diagnostic tests at home. The testing devices have become lighter, easier to use and interpret results. With the increase in remote healthcare,  nanotechnology, machine learning and artificial intelligence, home testing and monitoring is projected to continue growing. Covid-19 pandemic has also somewhat contributed as the quarantines meant people had to get alternative means of getting their care, including testing. 

Note: Home testing is related to another concept called walk-in laboratory testing, be sure to check it out as well.

Types of Home Tests 

There are numerous home tests available on the market today. Here are 12 of the commonly used home testing.

1. Pregnancy tests: 

Probably the number 1 home test, it offers offer a quick and convenient way to determine if you are pregnant by detecting the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine.

2. Blood Glucose monitoring. 

The ease, affordability and availability of glucose monitoring devices have given back control of diabetes management to individuals. Personally, I would vote for glucose monitoring as the most impactful of all home tests!

3. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) Test. 

These infections are some of the commonest. Fortunately, convenient at home UTI test kits that utilize urine sample have been developed and are widely available. 

Note: We have posted a comprehensive article on urine testing here

4. Malaria rapid diagnosis test.

Kenya has high burden of malaria especially in the coastal, western and Nyanza regions. Enabling testing for malaria vat home goes along way in detecting cases early and initiation appropriate treatment.

5. Lipid/Cholesterol Level Test

This test places the power to determine the levels of good, the bad cholesterol in your control. With an increasing number of people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, the ability to test levels at home is truly liberating. 

6. Home Ovulation Monitoring Test 

Used mainly in ovulation monitoring, these kits give couples the most optimum chances of conceiving. 
During midcycle, there is an upsurge of the luteinizing hormone (LH) that causes the release of mature ovum from the ovary. Detecting this sudden increase can help couples increase their chances of conception

7. STI/STD home  tests: 

Sexually transmitted infection tests are now available as home test kits, allowing individuals to screen themselves for common infections discreetly. STI/STD are some of the most popular home testing kits primarily due to privacy and the stigma attached to STI testing.  The introduction of HIV test kits that utilize saliva rather than blood has seen a dramatic rise in home testing for HIV.

Learn about our comprehensive tests for STI/STDs

8. Throat Strep Test. 

This tests for streptococcal bacterial infection of the throat. It helps determine if antibiotics are warranted leading to faster resolution of symptoms and judicious use of antibiotics. Talk of getting 2 birds with one stone!

9. Influenza test. 

The “flu” is a seasonal viral infection that while mild in most individuals. However in old/young people or immunocompromised people can cause serious infections. Having the ability to diagnose dangerous strains at the convenience of the home quickly can make the difference between life and death.

10. Faecal occult blood test (FOBT).

This test utilizes easy to use test kit to detect traces of blood in the stool. This test is used for screening for colon cancer with great results.

11. Allergy tests: 

These tests can help identify specific allergens responsible for allergic reactions by analyzing a blood or saliva sample.

12. Genetic testing:

These tests examine your DNA to provide insights into your ancestry, predisposition to certain diseases, or other genetic traits. It should be noted DNA tests are collection kits that allow the convenient home collection and are thereafter delivered to the testing company for analysis. The results are then availed securely through email or the customer portal on the testing company website.

Choosing the Right Home Test

 When it comes to selecting the appropriate home test, consider the following factors:

  • Accuracy: Look for tests approved and validated by regulatory bodies like the FDA, or KEBS ensuring accuracy comparable to that of laboratory tests. 
  • Reliability: Read reviews and check the reputation of the home testing company to ensure they provide reliable results and have a robust quality control process.
  • Support and guidance: Consider the level of support and guidance the company provides, such as clear instructions, resources for interpreting results, and access to healthcare professionals for consultations.
  • Test validity period: Some tests expire, so be mindful of the shelf life when purchasing a home test kit.

Interpreting Home Test Results: 

It’s important to understand how to interpret your home test results accurately. Most home test kits provide clear instructions on reading and understanding the results. If you have any doubts or concerns, consider consulting with a healthcare professional who can help you interpret the results and provide appropriate guidance.

Where can I buy Home Testing Kits in Kenya? 

Most home testing kits are widely available for m chemists/ pharmacies without a prescription. Many online pharmacies such as Mydawa sell home monitoring kits. It is important to buy only from reputable outlets in order to mitigate quality issues. The market for home testing kits in Kenya,  is (unfortunately) unregulated, so the burden of ensuring quality is on you, the consumer. 

What is the cost of home testing kits?

As seen above, one of the main attractions of test kits is affordability. In our own market survey, the cost of buying a home is about 10-20% of the cost charged by health facilities to conduct the same test using the same kit! Due to the unregulated nature of the medical device trade in Kenya, it’s paramount to do your homework when researching the cost of test kits

Limitations of Home Testing

While home testing offers numerous advantages, it’s essential to be aware of its limitations:

  • Quality of Test Kits. Kenya does not enforce quality standards on home test kits. KEBS’ Diamond Mark of quality is nice to have but not mandatory
  • False negatives or positives: Like any medical test, there is always a chance of false results. Factors such as incorrect sample collection, user error, or limitations of the test itself can impact the accuracy of the results.
  • No medical advice: There’s more to diagnostic tests beyond positive or negative results. Context is very important. Home tests can provide you with information, but they should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare provider for diagnosis, treatment, and personalized recommendations.
  • Limited scope: Home tests are designed to provide specific insights or screenings and may not cover a comprehensive range of health conditions or markers. Some tests may require further confirmatory testing by a healthcare professional.

Wrapping up Home testing

Home testing offers a convenient and accessible way to monitor your health, detect certain conditions, and gain valuable insights into your well-being. It empowers individuals to take control of their health, providing privacy and cost-effectiveness. Duue to rapid technological advances in laboratory diagnostics, home testing is expected to rise exponentially.

However, it is important to consider the accuracy, reliability, and limitations of home tests. When in doubt, always consult with a healthcare professional for comprehensive medical advice.

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Hope this article helps you understand the basics of home testing. In case of any questions don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below.

If you found this helpful, help us reach out to more people by liking and sharing it with friends and family. I’ll be talking about each specific test in detail in our future blog post, so consider subscribing to our blog so you get an alert when we publish.

Team labtestzote.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this medical blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided on this blog. The authors and publishers of this blog are not liable for any errors or omissions in the content or for any actions taken based on the information provided.

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