MIT Study Shows At-Home Testing Accuracy Matches In-Clinic Testing

At-home diagnostic tests for common illnesses such as strep, flu, UTI, and anemia have the potential to change the way patients can control their own care, but you may wonder whether at-home diagnostic tests are as reliable as tests performed by healthcare professionals. Are non-professionals capable of administering tests easily and accurately? 

A recent research study led by Pediatrics Service of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Medical Department confirms the answer is a resounding yes. The study set out to test their hypothesis that parents could successfully perform these tests at home. The study concludes that parents are capable of successfully performing at-home strep tests on their children. 

The Study

Sore throat is one of the most common medical problems in children that results in a doctor’s office visit. A rapid point-of-care test for strep throat is already routinely used in clinical facilities but is not generally available to the public. The study wanted to determine if parents themselves would be able to perform the rapid strep test for their children. MIT recruited parents with children between the ages of 5 and 16 with sore throats. To perform the strep throat test on their child, the parents swab the child’s throat, insert the swab into a tube of chemical reagents, then dip a test strip in the tube. In about 10 minutes, the test strip colors to show a positive or negative result. This process is very similar to that of Physician 360’s rapid-test strep kit

71 of the 76 parents in the study successfully performed the strep test on their child. The negative samples were sent to a lab to confirm the results, and only one returned positive, representing a false negative rate of 1.9 percent—similar to the rate when the test is done in the clinic by medical assistants.

The study concluded:

If the parents of these children had been able to perform the rapid strep test in their homes, visits to the clinic could have been avoided; no school or work time would have been lost, and physicians and clinic staff could have focused their efforts on more emergent needs, all without compromise to these patients.

What would be the impact of widespread access to low-cost at-home diagnostic tests? Many types of tests are available. One of the study’s authors, L.H. Hartman, conducted an experiment to answer this question. His conclusion:

...parental use of the test reduced the number of acute, non-urgent clinic visits for sore throat by 27.5%, compared to an 8.4% reduction in a control site. The reduction in visits for sore throat made over 1000 visit slots available for obesity management and care of other chronic conditions in the practice, as well as allowed children with sore throats to be diagnosed and treated in a more timely and convenient fashion.

Physician 360 eliminates the need for expensive, inconvenient doctor visits through our easy-to-use self-test kits, which include a virtual physician consultation.

You may wonder if the virtual physician consultation will match the level of care received during an in-person doctor visit. We at Physician 360 understand the importance of physician consultations in conjunction with self-testing, both for interpreting results and determining the next steps. We are very proud of our team of board-certified physician affiliates, who are committed to providing you with the answers you need in a caring, professional, and efficient manner.

Read what one Physician 360 customer had to say about her physician consultation:

I submitted my test results via attached photo and was on a conference face-to-face call within minutes with a doctor. Dr. Lapporte was very professional. He verified my personal information, went over the test results, as well as asked if I was having any additional symptoms. In my case, my results were positive, and I had an e-script sent in minutes to treat my infection, all while not leaving work. Total time was around 15 minutes. You can’t beat the price, service, or not having to miss work to get treated for an illness. My experience gets a five-star rating and, if needed, I will definitely purchase again.

We at Physician 360 envision a future where performing at-home self-tests for common illnesses will be the norm.

Physician 360 provides at-home strep, flu, UTI, and anemia test kits with an online physician consult. We are working hard to bring cost-effective telemedicine testing and diagnosis to every state in the US. Currently available in 37 states, Physician 360 is thriving, growing our pharmacy network while simultaneously working to expand to all 50 states. To learn more about Physician 360’s rapid-test diagnostic kits, contact us today.