Gone are the days where an in-person doctor’s appointment is the only way to meet your medical needs. Instead of wasting time waiting out an appointment—or in the waiting room—more and more medical tech companies are offering at-home alternatives, allowing you to take a personalized and DIY approach to your health.
One the one hand, it’s an affordable way to get personalized, not generalized information about what’s going on in your body. On the other hand, how accurate are they? Will they tell you things you don’t want to know? And what should you do with all that information when you get it?
Would you try any of these at-home tests? These four are getting lots of buzz.
You might have seen these guys on Shark Tank, and they’re approach is genius: Create tests that get to the heart of common health concerns: Is my thyroid okay? Do I have heavy metal poisoning? What’s my inflammation like? Do I have food sensitivities? Order an Everlywell kit, mail back the samples, then once they’ve been reviewed by a leading laboratory, you can view your results in an intuitive, easy-to-understand webpage. I’ve done lab tests like this with my doctor in the past, and the results aren’t as friendly to people… Everlywell makes it easy to figure out what’s going on and what to do next.
Peeing in a cup at the gynecologist isn’t the most fun thing in the world. SmartJane makes it possible to do a vaginal health check from the comfort of your own bathroom. To get started, simply go online to request a test. Pending your regular doctor’s approval, a screening kit will be sent (discretely) to your home address, making it relatively easy to test simultaneously for multiple conditions like HPV, STDs and other vaginal factors in three minutes or less. (It also is the only test of its kind to check for the seriousness of the strain.) When you’re done giving your sample, discretely send it back. Results are sent to both you and your doc so you can review them together. Keep in mind: SmartJane isn’t meant to replace your traditional pap smear, nor can it test for cancer, but it allows you to keep tabs on your vaginal health without frequent trips to the gyno.
You may know Thorne as a supplement provider, but recently, they decided to venture into the at-home medical testing biz. Using their services, you can test for everything from your body’s levels of heavy metals like lead and mercury to thyroid imbalance and fertility. They even offer a wellness test that will help you better understand your sleep. (Something I’d personally love to know more about!) The test you choose comes straight to your doorstep so you can collect the samples required, then return in the mail free of charge. You’ll get your results—which include biomarker values, a health analysis and personalized plan based on medically-supervised algorithms—via desktop or mobile device in three to five business days.
Knowing your genes can help you get ahead of numerous health issues, but it can be daunting to know where to start. Color offers at-home medical testing that can help you find out if you’re at risk for hereditary conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol and more. In fact, Color’s Hereditary Heart Health Test analyzes 30 genes that contribute to the structure, function and rhythm of a healthy heart so that you can keep an eye on mutations that could lead to a serious heart condition and associated events like a heart attack or stroke. To get started, your physician will need to request an at-home test on your behalf. From there, all that’s required is a saliva sample that you mail in (postage paid) to receive results that your doctor can use to create a personalized screening and management plan for your health. You’ll also get access to a board-certified genetic counselor who’s available to discuss your results and provide ongoing support along the way.