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The Key Advantages & Disadvantages of Home Testing and Important Precautions to Take before Home Testing

At-home tests provide you with the opportunity to test for some diseases or sensitive health conditions in the confines of your own home. These tests used to be cost-effective, quick, and confidential. However, there are certain risks associated with home testing for which necessary precautionary measures should be taken care of.

This blog post is intended to discuss the key merits and merits of home testing and the important safety measures you should pay heed to before home testing. This post shall cover the following key areas:

  1. What is home testing?
  2. Historical & futuristic perspective of home testing
  3. What are the most important advantages of home testing?
  4. What are the major disadvantages of home testing?
  5. What precautionary measures you should take before home testing?

These 05 important themes are discussed in detail in this blog post:

What is home testing?

The home testing is defined as those performed by individuals having no medical or laboratory training and without assistance from trained professionals.

Home testing also regarded as self-tests or home-use tests allow the user to test self-collected specimens and interpret the results on his/her own without the assistance of a trained health care provider. The acronyms such self-tests, home test, home testing, self-test, self-testing, home self-test, home self-testing, home-use test, home-use testing, home-based test, home-based testing, home-based self-test and home-based self-testing are generally used for the purpose.

Historical & futuristic perspective of home testing

The home-based testing flourished during the early 1970s with the advent and high-frequency use of pregnancy tests at home. Now there are quick and simple tests for all major and minor ailment. You can also check your blood pressure level as well as monitor your glucose level, HIV, cancer, hepatitis C, deteriorating vision, and urinary tract infections in the confines of your home. Some of these hoe testing devices provide instant results, others are just sample collection gadgets which need to be sent to a laboratory for further processing.

The home-use testing has made life a lot easier for the patients. With the COVID pandemic, the market for home use equipment is booming all around the globe. It is expected that the market for home medical equipment will witness the highest growth globally in the coming 5-10 years.

There are numerous merits of at-home tests. However, these tests have serious downsides associated with them:

What are the most important advantages of home testing?

The patients prefer home-based testing for the simple reason of convenience. A simple quick test at home, wards off your visit to the physician's clinic or a hospital, that can be time-consuming and quite irksome. Home testing is also very personal and anonymous. You may get quick results, or have to put in a private personal identification number in the device and in both cases, the results are for your consumption alone.

Home testing can help you in several ways. For instance,

  • It helps in detecting likely health conditions, in case you have no symptoms. This is instrumental in helping you get early treatment and lower the chances of developing later complications (i.e. glucose testing, cholesterol testing, hepatitis testing).
  • It points out peculiar conditions when there are no signs so that you can take immediate action (i.e. pregnancy testing).
  • It keeps track of the conditions to provide for frequent changes in treatment (i.e. glucose testing to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes).

What are the major disadvantages of home testing?

Unreliability of results allowed the critics to sense that some home test devices lead to unfounded fear and are a waste of time and money because they are not worthy of any trust and give false results if not done precisely. Nevertheless, the intensifying desire of patients to spot potential health complications at an early stage made the home testing more trendy.

Remember: It is worthwhile to keep in mind that with all the home-based testing, monitoring, or family planning products, you should visit your doctor irrespective of your test results.

  1. What precautionary measures you should take before home testing?

Despite the legion benefits associated with home testing, you should take a number of important precautions while doing home testing:

  • Never assume the role of your health care provider: When performing home testing it is important to remember that you are just self-testing and not self-diagnosing which is the job of your doctor. Never assume the role of your health care provider.
  • See your health care provider regularly: Home use tests are intended to help you with your health care, but they should not be an alternative to your periodic visits to the consultant.
    • Many tests are best assessed in light of your medical history combined with the physical examination and in conjunction with other associated tests.
    • You must visit your physician in case you are feeling unwell or concerned about a possible health condition, or if the latest investigations/test advice you do so.
  • Always use new test strips that are authorized for sale in your region. There are numerous risks associated with using previously owned test strips or test strips that are not authorized for sale in your region.
    • No matter which at-home test device you use, the instructions/ guidelines given in the manual should be read thoroughly and followed accordingly.
    • Always check the date of expiry before using the tool.
    • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for storage.
    • When collecting a blood sample, you need to be seated to avoid faintness.
    • Consult your doctor to talk about your results.

Remember:  In case, your result is positive, you will have to consult your physician right away, to begin with, proper treatment. In case your result is negative, you must go retesting to confirm that the home test was correct or otherwise.


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