Is it possible to perform a blood test at home?

At-Home Diagnostic Testing

Is it possible to perform a blood test at home?

Leo Maurer

While certain at-home diagnostics have been popular for quite a while, tests that require blood sampling have been restricted to labs. Use of at-home blood testing in place of a clinic phlebotomy procedure (wherein a needle is used to take blood from a vein) is comparatively recent. The primary reasons for an increase in at-home blood testing are: 

  1. Increased demand for telehealth services.
  2. The advent of efficient remote options like dried spot blood tests.

Dried blood spot (DBS) tests allow patients and users to submit samples to labs rather than undergo a phlebotomy procedure. At Ash Wellness, we provide hassle-free blood spot tests. Our comprehensive end-to-end telemedicine service takes care of everything from collection kits to lab coordination to platform support. We are able to offer our partners more at-home diagnostic options with dried blood spot tests. 

What are DBS tests?

How exactly does this kind of blood testing work? It is based on a type of bio sampling where blood samples are blotted and dried on a strip of paper. A lancet draws the samples from the heel, toe, or finger. Since these samples are dried, they can easily be shipped to a lab for analysis.

A paper on the Stability of Proteins in Dried Blood Spot Biobanks shows that the drying process doesn’t impact the protein levels, indicating that the samples are still high quality. The study suggests a couple of other benefits that DBS offers over traditional wet sampling. They include: 

  • Greater comfort and convenience for patients: Only a small amount of blood needs to be collected, and it doesn’t require anything daunting like a needle in the arm. Additionally, since it can be administered at home without any help, it avoids the inconvenience of visiting a hospital. 
  • Easy to collect and store: Since the samples are collected in low volume and on a strip of paper, the cost of storing them is very low. 

Is DBS testing effective? 

A study conducted by the Department of Infectious Diseases, Odense University Hospital - Denmark, examined the specificity and sensitivity of DBS samples when testing for viral hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The results state: 

  • DBS has a sensitivity of over 96% when testing for both viruses. 
  • The specificity of detection for both viruses was more than 98%. 

The study shows that DBS, combined with an automated analysis system, is a viable and efficient blood sampling method for pathological tests/study. 

How Ash Wellness helps with at-home diagnostic testing

Ash Wellness capitalizes on the efficiency of this sampling method by assisting health centers, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies with collecting, analyzing, and reporting on these samples. The complete process looks something like this: 

  1. Either the patient or their healthcare provider orders an at-home health test from Ash Wellness. 
  2. Ash Wellness sends over a testing kit, complete with detailed instructions, and the patient collects a DBS sample. The patient sends the sample to the lab for testing. 
  3. The lab receives the sample and processes it within 1-2 days. The results are then sent to the healthcare provider. 
  4. The provider follows up with the patient. 

The Ash Wellness end-to-end solution ensures that our partners can customize the services to their specific needs: either opting for the full integration or adding to an existing service.

Onboard at-home testing services in as little as three weeks with Ash Wellness.

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