Introduction

Home testing is a growing area of health care that places new responsibilities on the health care consumer. (See also the related feature article Testing outside of the pathology laboratory)

Read the instructions which come with each test kit carefully and seek advice from your GP if you are unsure of the merits of home testing.

Glucose

Condition: Diabetes

Purpose: To monitor blood sugar concentration in diabetes

Format: Stand-alone test, results available to consumer in the home

Availability: OTC in pharmacies, on the recommendation of your doctor

Comments: Home testing for monitoring diabetes has advanced from urine testing to whole blood testing. These tests usually involve taking a small 'finger-prick' sample and are a convenient way for patients and doctors to monitor daily variations in blood glucose levels.

OTC=over-the-counter.
 

Luteinising hormone (LH)

Condition: Ovulation

Purpose: Predicting time when woman is most likely to be fertile

Format: Stand-alone test, results available to consumer in the home

Availability: OTC in pharmacies

Comments: Usually involve testing urine samples at different stages of the menstrual cycle to look for peak LH levels which occur just before ovulation.

OTC=over-the-counter.
 

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

Condition: Pregnancy

Purpose: Screening for possibility of pregnancy

Format: Stand-alone test, results available to consumer in the home

Availability: OTC in pharmacies

Comments: Usually involves testing urine for hCG, which is produced when a woman becomes pregnant. Consult you GP if you are pregnant to arrange ante-natal care or if you are unsure about the results of home testing.

OTC=over-the-counter.
 

INR

(Coagulation testing)

Condition: Heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis

Purpose: Measuring the ease with which the blood clots

Format: Stand-alone test, results available to consumer in the home

Availability: By prescription from your GP or hospital Haematologist; when home testing is considered appropriate.

Comments: Now also being done by GPs in their practice; safety and efficacy have been demonstrated. Requires considerable patient training and compliance to be useful.
 

Other home tests

Condition: Various, such as osteoporosis, hormone levels, drugs of abuse

Purpose: Screening

Format: Varies

Availability: Some tests may be available internationally but are not yet available over the counter in Australia

Comments: A number of other home testing kits have become available recently and can be bought either from pharmacies or from internet based sources. You should consult your GP if you have any questions or concerns regarding the use or validity of these products.

Tests include – hormone levels, drugs of abuse and sexual transmitted diseases.


Last Review Date: December 17, 2015