Pros and Cons of Direct-to-Consumer Health Testing

Original Article:

Medical tests directly to the consumer

Imagine you’re a healthy 43-year-old, and you want to check your vitamin D levels, but your doctor is reluctant to order the test. You, as a patient, are still wanting reassurance that everything is OK with your vitamin D levels – so what do you do?.. A quick search on-line shows that there are companies that let you get these tests without a doctor’s note, but you have to pay for it. 

Lab testing without a doctor’s agreement

Is this okay? What if you want to check other things like testosterone, PSA, or Lyme disease? This is becoming common because the direct-to-consumer health testing industry is growing fast.

The direct-to-consumer health testing market is booming, and it’s expected to be worth $2 billion by 2025. Established labs are also becoming involved. One reason for this growth is the increasing cost of healthcare, which has led to limitations on the tests doctors can order. Patients, frustrated with this, are taking charge of their health and getting tests on their own. While insurance doesn’t cover these tests, the prices are clear, and competition keeps them affordable.

The Dilemma about direct to consumer lab testing:

It sounds great to let people get the tests they want, especially if they can pay for it. But, if the test results show a problem, it gets complicated. If a test from a direct-to-consumer company comes back with an abnormal result, it often means going back to a regular doctor for more tests and treatments. This means someone has to pay for these additional medical costs, and that could end up affecting all of us. So, while direct-to-consumer testing has its benefits, it also has some downsides that need to be considered. Further, there have been recent episodes where companies have offered cheaper tests but later have been found to be fraudulent. Currently, it is still a good idea to discuss ordering lab tests with your doctor.