COVID Opens Door to Comfort With Rise in At-Home Medical Tests

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man user

Chris Thomas

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July 12, 2023

COVID Opens Door to Comfort With Rise in At-Home Medical Tests

You save a trip to the doctor’s office. But can you understand the results?
15 million people in the US are visually impaired

You wear a cuff to measure not only your blood pressure but also the stiffness of your arteries, among other vascular readings, from home. You conduct your own vision tests for eyeglasses without leaving the house. You pee in your own toilet to capture urine samples you share remotely with your doctor.

Telehealth has brought doctors back into the house virtually via smartphone, computer and tablet screens. Now several health tests that used to require a trip to a doctor’s office or lab are also being done from the comfort of home. Others are on the cusp of being approved.

You can buy some tests off the shelf at your local pharmacy. Others may require a prescription from your physician, who can then monitor certain conditions from afar.

Health-related tests of one kind or another aren’t entirely new, of course. Women have been able to take home pregnancy tests for decades. Diabetics can prick their finger with a needle to test glucose levels or wear a continuous glucose monitor. Some people share their DNA through 23andMe to screen for hereditary conditions.

COVID makes home testing routine

Millions have grown accustomed to home diagnostics by sticking a swab up their noses, however unpleasant, to test for COVID-19.

“The pandemic definitely changed a lot of people’s opinions of testing at home,” says virologist Mary Rodgers, principal scientist for diagnostics at Abbott, the North Chicago–based health care company behind the BinaxNOW-branded COVID tests.



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