DIY Health Tests

DIY Health Tests

At-home health tests may promote better health at a lower cost.

Lab testing ranks high among the most unpleasant experiences people endure in their lifetimes. Because of their adverse relationship with lab testing and its cost, patients tend to miss screenings or simply ignore them. Everlywell has created multiple at-home tests that make it more convenient and cheaper for patients to get tested.


Video Spotlight: At Home Lab Testing


This post is based on the Bloomberg Businessweek article, At-Home Health Tests Get the Direct-to-Consumer Treatment, by A. Cohen, July 23, 2019, and the YouTube video, EverlyWell – At Home Lab Testing – How It Worksby EverlyWell, December 19, 2017. Image source: Shutterstock/peter verreussel.

Discussion Questions:

1. Using the HOQ framework, what are customer and product/process design requirements for lab testing?

Guidance: The patients’ or customers’ requirements are: health, convenience, speed, privacy, low cost, reliability, and personal involvement in care. The product/process requirements include test availability at major pharmacies, at-home testing for privacy, affordable retail cost and partnership with insurance companies, easy mail-in process, online results and professional consultation, and CLIA-certified labs.

2. What are the steps you go through when getting a lab test? Which steps are eliminated or simplified with at-home tests?

Guidance: When getting a lab test, the steps include going to the lab, waiting to be called in, providing samples, going to work or back home, waiting for results, and sometimes call the provider to get results. With the at-home test, going to the lab is replaced with going to the nearest pharmacy or Target store (or the step is eliminated if you receive the kit in your mailbox); waiting to be called in is eliminated; going back home or to work is replaced with dropping off the sample in a mailbox, perhaps on the way home or to work (or the step is eliminated if you leave the sample in your mailbox to be picked up by the postal worker); calling the provider to get results is eliminated. Furthermore, samples are provided in a private setting, thereby enhancing a patient’s experience.

3. How can at-home tests improve patient care?

Guidance: The convenience, privacy, and relatively low cost of the testing kits should lower patients’ tendencies to miss lab tests, postpone them, or even ignore them. Timely testing improves preventive care, early diagnosis, and chronic disease management. Furthermore, patient participation in their own care facilitates compliance.

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