What are the Benefits of Home Testing?
Home medical tests can be used to screen for, diagnose, or monitor a range of health concerns. For the cynics, if you would trust a home pregnancy test then would a home test for say, a UTI (which half of all women will get in their lifetime) be so radical? Remember, when using home test kits, you are self-testing, not self-diagnosing. Part of a larger shift among the public towards greater awareness about health prevention offering these tests are minimalist, sustainable (paper-based) and seek to reduce testing costs.
The benefits of an at-home UTI test kit is that it is convenient, confidential and empowers individuals to be proactive about their own health. UTI’s also leave over 8 million people queuing at the doctors every year. Anything that cuts down on waiting time and frees me up for my family is great by me.
With so many home medical tests on the market, where do you even start on picking one that’s right for you? Award winning healthtech innovator TestCard was created when founders Luke Heron & Dr Andrew Botham considered why people delay seeking medical help. The UK based company’s aim is to make testing more accessible across the world, providing fast and accurate medical results, which can improve speed of treatment.
TestCard’s UTI test Kit.
TestCard is a combination of a non-invasive urine test kit embedded into a postcard coupled with a free smartphone App available for Apple and Android, that turns a mobile phone’s camera into a clinical grade scanner, so you can see instant test results and detailed urinalysis.
TestCard is CE Mark Approved so you can be confident it has met the right standards to be used as a medical device.
The UTI test kit is designed to help people who already have symptoms of a urine infection to decide what to do next. Helpfully, you can choose to share the results with your GP to help speed up diagnosis and cystitis treatment. You can do this in person, over a video consultation or share it electronically if they have a secure way for you to do this. TestCard’s UTI test kit is easy to use, you can do the test at a time/place that’s convenient and is especially useful for people that get recurring UTIs.
As UTI’s are one of the most common reasons that people seek medical advice TestCard focused development on a UTI Test Kit (but soon to be available other tests include a Glucose Urine Self-test Kit and Malaria Urine Self-test Kit.)
Unboxing and first impression of TestCard’s Urine Self-test Kit.
The discreetly sized pale blue-green paper pouch is designed well with simple, appealing packaging and clear easy to read labelling. Tear it open to see simple instructions and guidance where to download the App which is well developed, runs speedily and doesn’t suck up all your mobile storage (NOTE: It is only works with devices with IOS 11+ or Android 6+, there is a list of compatible devices on the TestCard site). Personally, I found it easier to go to the TestCard Website on my mobile and download the App from there.
P.s kudos to the easily navigable, boldly designed and infographic packed site that is filled with user friendly information, including a ‘How-To’ video that to me offers the reassuring balance between bold, modern techy and clear, factual medical sensibility.
Inside sit two UTI test strips neatly, safely packaged and sealed with expiry date; I like that two are included as if you were worried about reliability there is a second (which can be kept spare, unopened for 6 months). The App also checks the test when you start and won’t let you use an out of date one. Practically, I like that the strips are sturdy cardboard and not flimsy, as no one likes a soggy hand. They are designed to be uncomplicated with noted area to hold, and maximum dip line. Text is large, clear with no misleading jargon. Inside was also a paper leaflet with further information about the Ph, Nitrate and Leucocytes test squares, warnings and limitations of the test, storage info, disposal, instructions and how to read the results which is a considerate and reassuring addition to if tester struggled reading text off the App or website.
How easy is it ACTUALLY to use the Testcard Urine Self-test Kit?
I have very little patience and tend to get flappy using home tests as lots of instructions overwhelm me. With the TestCard UTI test kit it is very difficult to do something wrong and everything is very clear in the SHORT step by step process. On theUTI test strip package it clearly instructs you to download the App before opening. The only thing you need to have at hand is a clean container to collect your sample.
Step 1. Tear open the pouch and hold the test strip at the top and use your camera to scan the QR code. This tells the App which type of test you’re taking.
Step 2. Dip the testing strip into your sample for a second or two. Ensure the strip is wet above all of the squares but below the ‘max wet’ line. Easy. Information does suggest morning samples are better as is a mid-stream collection if you can manage it. (Note: I tried both tests to check for result consistency and didn’t get any false readings. No more questioning if it’s worth the money for £10 and free delivery – sent the same day via 1st Class Royal Mail.)
Step 3. While holding the testing strip at the top, scan. The App takes you through what you need to do. Align the strip to the blue guides on the screen and get accurate results like BOOM. Make sure you are in a well lit room and your phone is charged as the App uses your phone camera light.
Are the results comprehensible and actionable?
The results screen indicates a clear yes or no and tells you if you need to seek medical advice. There’s no medical jargon or complicated numbers. I like the visuals representations of the tree test areas. Those clear, sharable results are also completely private and secure in the blue results portal. You can use the App as a guest or create an account, take tests offline etc. Note: If you do create a guest account take a screenshot of the results before you leave the App because it won’t be saved without a TestCard account.
Are home tests safe?
Granted, there could be result errors the same as any other testing. Before using make sure the kit is sealed, without any damage to the packaging, and check it is within its expiry date. User error is the most likely so it’s really important to read the full instructions for use carefully when you take the test.
In summary, I like that TestCard is not trying to replace the need for accurate medical advice. I can’t see any obvious improvements needed and love the simplicity and clear instructions of the UTI test kit.
#AD This post is written in collaboration with TestCard. All thoughts and opinions are my own.