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8 Tips on How Home Test Kits Can Benefit You
Home test kits should not be totally relied upon as a substitute for a CLIA approved laboratory, but in certain
settings they provide advantages over traditional laboratory testing. These advantages can reduce healthcare costs,
provide peace of mind and be instrumental in improving health and improving healthcare.
One of the major advantages of the kits is the convenience they provide particularly for individuals who are
homebound for various reasons including illness, limited funds, or lack of transportation. Home test kits can be
ordered online and are shipped to your home. The test results are obtained within minutes after following
directions that come with the kit or in the case of a test requiring interpretation by reference lab, the results
are mailed to you in a few days in most cases. Tests traditionally performed by laboratories usually require a
needle stick and the removal of a modest to moderate amount of blood from a vein which might be painful depending
on the technique and proficiency of the phlebotomist. With the use of a home kit however, only a small amount of
blood from a finger puncture is needed and is generally much better tolerated than the puncture of a vein. Many of
the home tests don’t require collection of blood at all, but the collection of urine, hair or saliva instead.
The safety of the specimen collection hinges not only upon the technique and the proficiency of the person that
collects it, but also on the environment in which the specimen is collected. It is a well-known fact that
environments frequented by sick people generally harbor more germs (primarily viruses and bacteria), particularly
during the height of flu season and which will certainly be the case in the event of a flu pandemic. Not having to
go to a laboratory or doctor's office to have a test specimen collected substantially reduces exposure to
infectious disease producing viruses and bacteria which might be of major importance if you have a condition which
lowers your immunity.
Home test kits also provide privacy and confidentiality of test results which is particularly important for
individual who live in small communities where discussions in doctor's offices sometimes become community
knowledge. This is especially true with respect to tests for sexually transmitted diseases, illegal drug use and
paternity. Many are also concerned about test results ending up in a national databank which does not happen in the
case of home testing.
With the burgeoning illegal drug epidemic that is plaguing our society today, a home drug testing program might be
the only way of ensuring a drug free home and the linchpin of family stability, particularly if you have teenagers.
Drug test kits enable you to implement and enforce a Parent and Teen Drug Free Home Agreement which could prove
priceless in terms of the future direction of your family.
Home testing might also be a good initial step in helping you decide on the type of group health insurance plan you
select if you have not recently been to a doctor and are concerned that you might have a particular illness which
has not been diagnosed. This is important because many of the PPO and other non-HMO insurance plans have
pre-existing illness exclusions which are not covered for a specified period of time or are not covered at all once
the policy goes into effect. If you discover that you do probably have a particular condition based on home test
result that could very well be the deciding factor in whether or not you select an HMO or PPO insurance plan. If
you are planning to purchase your own insurance home testing prior to the application might be of value in
validating your answers to questions on the insurance application questionnaire, and might spare you the unexpected
pre-existing illness exclusions(s) if your application is approved.
The use of a home testing kit can provide peace of mind regarding environment concerns and can be instrumental in
diagnosing disease related to home environment hazards such as exposure to radon gas, lead and other heavy metals.
Routine screening for these health hazards is not a part of traditional medical practice because environmental
safety is not emphasized in medical training and screening tests to diagnose illnesses related to them are not
routinely covered by insurance companies. The health-insurance industry reimburses based on a coding system.
Services, including doctor visits and laboratory testing have specified service codes or CPT codes. When a claim
for re-imbursement is submitted to an insurance company by your doctor, laboratory or other healthcare provider the
insurance company is informed of the reason(s) the service was provided via diagnosis codes known as ICD-9-CM
codes. If a carrier processes a claim in which a listed service code is not justified by an appropriate ICD-9-CM
diagnosis code, the claim is denied and the recipient of the service (the patient) is billed. Given customary
laboratory fees, that charge most likely will be significantly greater than the cost of a test kit to perform a
comparable test. If a diagnosis is made by use of a test kit and additional future testing for that same problem is
required the relevant ICD-9-CM code can then be submitted with futures claims to the insurance carrier and who
should then pay the claim. A negative environmental safety home test on the other hand can provide peace of mind
that you don’t the home environmental hazard test for.
Finally, home testing can be a bridge between not having health insurance and obtaining healthcare. An example is
participation in clinical research trials which afford great opportunities for individuals to receive medical care
who otherwise would not be able to afford the care. All clinical trials have what are known as inclusion criteria
which include the diagnosis among other variables that have to be met in order to be a participant in the trial. A
condition which is diagnosable via home test kit might be the necessary data for screening and eventual enrollment
in a clinical trial. Social Security disability benefits are also an avenue for individuals without health
insurance coverage to obtain coverage if deemed disabled following a disability determination evaluation. Many of
the evaluations are performed however without applicants having established diagnoses because their inability to
afford to see a doctor and have tests performed. It stands to reason that, if for example an applicant filing for
disability due to fatigue has an accompanying diagnosis of AIDS or hepatitis C, whether the diagnosis was made via
traditional laboratory testing or from the use of a home kit, the likelihood of obtaining disability benefits would
In summary, home test kits provide convenience and safety of the testing process, confidentiality of the test
results, increased likelihood of a drug free home, and peace of mind with respect to concerns about possible home
environmental hazards. Additionally the kits might diagnose problems that would otherwise go undiagnosed and can be
of benefit in obtaining medical care, whether it is in the form participation in a clinical trial or the
acquisition of health insurance.
Victor E. Battles, M.D.
August 28, 2009
As a board-certified internist I am well aware of the role that laboratory testing plays in evaluating patients and
providing appropriate health care.
To learn more about home test kits and how you can use them as a supplement to
your health care and improving your health and to choose from a variety of quality kits visit www.proactivehealthoutlet.com.
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