The issues with do-it-yourself healthcare

As more people have taken healthcare into their own hands over the course of the pandemic, many are realizing it's not as easy as it seems, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 22. 

Despite almost 350,000 healthcare and fitness tracking apps available for download, along with consumer products like wearables and at-home tests, some who tried do-it-yourself healthcare have been left feeling disappointed or confused. 

Five issues with DIY healthcare that consumers run into: 

  1. Although some DIY lab testing kits offer instant or quick results, physicians warn that they may not be as accurate as medical, in-lab tests and may not offer all the information a professional exam would. 

  2. Many consumers rely on these tests for diagnostic information, but instead they should be used in unison with medical professionals; for instance, information from apps or testing kits can be sent to physicians or nurses who can then determine if a follow-up visit is necessary. 

  3. DIY testing can require more effort to administer and may be more difficult for nonmedical professionals. Some tests require a sample of blood, so for squeamish patients or those who aren't careful, the test could create uncomfortable situations. 

  4. The expense of home testing kits isn't always clearly advertised, and whether they are covered by insurance or not is not always clear. 

  5. It's difficult for consumers to tell which tests or health trackers are legitimate and regulated or not. Many don't understand that many tracking devices and apps have no FDA approval because they're seen as consumer products, and some testing kits are not reviewed by the FDA if they're seen as wellness products not making medical claims.

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