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Home Medical Testing and the Self-Care Movement

By September 2, 2009November 2nd, 2009Commentary

A variety of factors are increasing consumers’ role in their health care.  One is the greater share of costs which consumers are bearing.  Another is greater education and awareness of patients about health issues.  And there has been a general movement to more self-service in a number of economic activities.  Many of us now do financial and banking transactions on line or through ATMs, we shop online, we make travel reservations and check-in for flights ourselves.  The Los Angeles Times explores greater use of home-health testing by consumers, which is one aspect of the movement toward more self-care.  (LA Times Article)  While some have expressed concern about quality issues related to home-testing and other forms of self-care, it is apparent that many Americans are willing to take more control of managing their health.  Doing so has the potential to create overall cost savings, through avoidance of doctor visits and more expensive lab testing.  Patients are learning to do more and more complex health tasks, such as monitoring their own conditions and even performing home dialysis.  This level of patient engagement seems likely to continue to grow and is probably a welcome development.

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