7 wellness tests that are possible with dried blood samples
by Neoteryx | 4 min read
Why go to the lab or blood draw clinic if you don't have to? Many health and wellness companies now offer home health kits that enable you to collect your own blood samples and other specimens for lab testing by mail. While these home health kits don't replace your doctor, the associated lab results can be used to help you and your doctor monitor your health over time, furnishing you with insights and data you can discuss with your providers during follow-up consultations.
Home health kits can reduce the number of clinic visits needed, easing the burden of care for patients with chronic health conditions. Some home health kits are distributed only through primary care physicians or disease specialists, who provide them to patients that require remote patient monitoring to manage a chronic illness. Physicians may use these kits for patients who are on long-term drug therapies, such as hormone replacement or immunosuppressants, because these therapies require frequent blood testing for drug monitoring. Other home health kits are available directly from wellness companies or labs for general wellness screenings to help you manage your overall health.
Home Health Kits Are No Longer Limited to Special Patient Populations
In today's era of global pandemics, many patients are advised to stay home and avoid exposure to contagions. In-person clinic visits have been limited to emergencies or procedures that are absolutely necessary. Healthcare personnel are working alternating shifts and in-clinic appointments are staggered to avoid exposures. In this new healthcare environment, home health kits are no longer limited to special patient populations, but can be helpful for any patient who wishes to self-manage their overall health without risking a visit to the clinic. Mailing specimen samples to a lab and following up with the doctor via telehealth to discuss results has become the preferred option during the coronavirus pandemic. Many health and research organizations are now providing home kits for rapid virus testing of active COVID-19 illness, or SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing to measure your immunity against the virus.
You Can Collect Your Own Blood Sample for Testing
When most people think of blood collection, they think of being poked in the arm by a phlebotomist, who fills several vials or tubes with "wet" blood for lab testing. This conventional approach to blood collection isn't necessary for most health screenings. With recent advancements in medical technology, we can now collect a tiny drop of blood onto the tip of a portable device to garner an enormous amount of information about your health. And, you don't need to be a health professional to collect your own blood sample with this type of device.
The Mitra® microsampler from Neoteryx, for example, is an easy-to-use device that makes precise blood collection possible by anyone, anywhere. This approach to blood collection relies on the finger-prick method, where you use a small lancet to prick your fingertip. Once a drop of blood forms on your fingertip, you place the absorbent tip of a Mitra device on the blood drop until it is absorbed into the tip. The blood will dry on the device tip, and will be analyzed as a "dried blood" sample. Two "filled" tips furnish enough dried blood for many health and wellness tests. After you collect your samples, you close the protective cartridge that contains your Mitra devices. You place the cartridge into the included packaging for mailing to a lab that is optimized for processing remote microsamples.
The lab will process Mitra microsamples as dried blood samples, which provide data that is concordant with "wet" blood samples or can be correlated to traditional references ranges. The lab inputs your test results into a secure digital system for access by you and/or your physician. The blood test results provide insightful data that helps your physician or other health provider decide on next steps in your care. They can follow up with you via email, phone or video chat to advise you on any adjustments in medication dosing or changes to your care plan. Some wellness companies can use the results to detect nutritional deficiencies and advise you on making dietary modifications and/or adding nutritional supplements to boost your health and immunity. The Mitra® device has been included in home kits from several health & wellness companies and labs, including Exagen Diagnostics, for you eHealth and Physicians Lab.
Which wellness tests are possible using remote dried blood samples that you self-collect at home?
7 wellness tests that are compatible with dried blood samples:
- Steroids, Hormones & Fatty Acids
- Proteins, Peptides & Amino Acids
- Heavy Metals
- Other Health Biomarkers
Click here to view full-sized version of the wellness testing chart.
It is amazing what you can learn from using a medical device at home to collect a drop or two of blood for lab analysis. While health consumers can use this remote blood collection approach to monitor their health and wellness, research scientists can use it to drive their research and public health studies. For example, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of Rochester, and University of San Diego, are using the Mitra® devices and Mitra® Blood Collection Kits to enable "citizen scientists" to submit samples from the safety of home. Such studies are investigating the spread of COVID-19 and the development of herd immunity.
For physicians and wellness companies seeking labs that process dried blood microsamples, please visit the Neoteryx Lab Directory online to search labs in your area.
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