Virtual Clinic for Women's Hormonal Health & Digestion in Ontario

Medical testing

The Brilliance of At-Home Medical Testing

I love the convenience of at-home sample collection and testing. When medical testing options are available for the patient to do themselves, it saves them the trip to the crowded germy testing lab, and doesn’t demand so much of their busy schedules. 

I think the future of health care involves more efficiencies like streamlining some aspects medical assessment. 

Imagine a patient with a possible urinary tract infection (UTI). They have symptoms of urgency to urinate and pain with urination. After booking a virtual appointment, a screening tool (as simple as an intake form, or as sophisticated as an AI-directed intake exam) determines that a UTI is likely, and a urinalysis test kit including a collection cup and testing strips is immediately shipped to their home.

The patient collects the sample and tests with the strip as indicated after watching an instruction video provided by the online medical system. They take a photo of the completed test strip and either the physician or a colour-matching virtual tool determines if a UTI is likely.

If warranted, the medical system (or virtual physician) prompts the patient to send the collected sample to the lab for further testing. And if needed a prescription will be ordered and shipped to the patient’s house. Follow-up test strips will be included in the original testing kit to confirm infection has been cleared, and the results are updated in the patient portal of the medical system so that the program or physician know that the case is closed. If the infection has not resolved, the program/physician will be prompted to follow-up with the patient to ensure no health care issue is left unsolved. 

This is not just the medicine of the future. There are currently some at-home testing options that we can use now, such as:

  • Urinalysis: strips can be ordered on Amazon
  • Hormone testing: we usually use the DUTCH test for comprehensive hormone analysis
  • Digestive bioflora testing: comprehensive stool analysis and SIBO breath testing to determine your gut bacterial balance
  • Nutrigenomix: genetic assessment to determine your ideal diet
  • 23andme: to determine genetic predispositions to medical conditions such as apoE, celiac etc. The raw data can then be analyzed for specific health traits in such program as Promethease or Rhonda Patrick’s Found My Fitness panel
  • Continuous glucose monitoring: this is a great way to determine your individual reaction to the various foods in your diet. This is important not just for weight balance and the prevention of diabetes, but also for stabilizing energy and inflammation.
  • Vaginal bioflora testing: many women self-prescribe vaginal anti-fungals without even knowing if they have a yeast infection. There are simple at-home vaginal pH test kits, but also more comprehensive vaginal bioflora analysis tests such as Juno.
  • Food intolerance testing: this is a blood test that can be performed via finger prick at home as well. It will give a report of any antibodies to the 120 foods that it tests.
  • Vitamin D testing: can also be done via finger prick test at home, and it a vital test for anyone living in Canada as most of us are low. I’ve tested hundreds of patients in the Ottawa area, and almost everyone is low (below normal range, not just low-normal).

There are also companies that are creating more types of at-home medical testing options for issues like prostate health, sexually transmitted infections, thyroid testing, health health panels, etc. 

Here’s hoping we continue to transition towards at-home testing which both empowers the patient, and also is more likely to catch previously untreated conditions as patients were avoiding the inconvenience of in-office or in-lab testing.

A limitation to at-home testing is the risk that the patient will incorrectly interpret the results. But with the support of a virtual physician or naturopathic doctor this is not an issue. Need help with testing? Let us support you.

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