Finger Prick Blood Test, Explained (With Examples)

At-Home Diagnostic Testing

Finger Prick Blood Test, Explained (With Examples)

Charul Narain

While technology continues to redefine the way we approach healthcare, some of our most successful innovations are decades old. One groundbreaking innovation first utilized during the second World War was  the use of Dried Blood Spot (DBS) cards for remote diagnostic testing. First implemented for large-scale neonatal screening, providers now use them to screen for diseases like HIV,  Hepatitis B and C, etc. DBS cards are inexpensive and well suited for  the collection, analysis, and management of blood samples, offering unparalleled convenience and reliability. 

What is a DBS Card? 

DBS cards are a simple yet effective method for collecting, shipping, and storing whole blood samples. This valuable tool allows for the measurement and analysis of blood to obtain health-related diagnostic data, which providers can use as part of detection and care. These cards are critical for observing, guiding, assessing, and managing diseases to improve overall health and well-being.

How do DBS Cards Work?

DBS cards are made of thick cellulose cardstock with circles printed on the paper using a thin layer of toner. The process of using DBS cards is remarkably straightforward. Patients can easily collect blood samples with a finger prick, placing the blood droplets onto the designated circles on the card. Once the blood is applied, patients let the card  dry for at least 60 minutes at room temperature. Once dry, the samples are wrapped in a bio bag to prevent contamination and mailed to the lab. 

Here are several ways DBS cards are beneficial:

Simplified Sampling

DBS cards enable blood sampling using finger pricks, eliminating the need for phlebotomists. This reduces workforce requirements and makes the process more convenient for patients.

Enhanced Stability

DBS cards have shown excellent stability of analytes, ensuring accurate and reliable test results.

Low Blood Volume

Compared to traditional blood collection methods that require larger volumes of blood, DBS cards only require a small amount of blood obtained from a finger prick. This minimally invasive approach is more comfortable for patients and reduces the risk associated with larger blood draws.

Easy Shipping, Storage, Disposal 

DBS cards are designed for easy shipping and storage. Unlike expensive and cumbersome traditional cold chain storage, DBS cards can be reliably transported by mail. This allows for broad access to basic health information, increasing screening and biobanking efforts for retrospective analysis.

Cost Reduction

The use of DBS cards reduces costs associated with blood collection, transportation, and storage. It eliminates the need for specialized equipment and trained personnel, making it a cost-effective solution.

Point of Care Blood Tests vs. Remote Diagnostic Blood Tests 

DBS cards are a type of remote diagnostic blood test. While point-of-care blood tests provide immediate results, remote diagnostic blood tests offer the advantage of provider review. With DBS cards, patients can collect their own blood samples, which are then processed by lab technicians who upload the results for provider and patient. This approach combines the convenience of self-collection with the expertise of laboratory analysis, ensuring accurate and reliable results.

How Ash Can Help 

Ash Wellness offers a range of disease screening services with DBS cards, which allows patients to collect blood samples easily and accurately. We partner with public health departments, student health departments, digital health companies, and traditional medical institutions to guide patients through a remote careflow. DBS cards have emerged as a game-changer in the world of healthcare diagnostics. Their simplicity, reliability, and cost-effectiveness make them an attractive option.

‍Learn more about how DBS card testing can impact your business or healthcare organization. Schedule a time to chat with us.

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