Some tests are being adapted for use at home, as patients take on responsibility for their health care. Common home tests include pregnancy tests and ovulation predictors for women, blood glucose monitors for diabetics and prothrombin-time tests to monitor the doses of drugs that prevent clotting of the blood.
Home tests are usually purchased over the counter at pharmacies. Some may require a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain reimbursement. The advantages of home tests include convenience and rapid results.
However, while the devices appear simple it is possible to obtain the wrong results if the instructions that accompany the device or test are not carefully followed. Such instructions include information on the correct storage of strips or other reagents and using the right type of sample whether blood or urine.
It may also be necessary to seek professional advice to understand the significance of a particular result and you should obtain this from your doctor or pharmacist.
Other home tests are available over the internet but users should be cautious about their use since at the moment there is no way to be sure that these devices conform to specific quality requirements. Again, you should discuss the suitability of these tests with your doctor.