At-home blood testing kits are a powerful tool for health monitoring – it’s our first step in helping you reach optimal health. Our at-home blood testing kits bring the convenience and simplicity of health checks right to your doorstep, meaning you can take a proactive approach to your wellness: helping you live healthier, for longer. However, you might be wondering, "How can I guarantee the best results from my kit?" This article will guide you through the most common causes of issues with your sample and how to take your test correctly – from activation to sample collection – to ensure accuracy and reliability in your results.
Our number one tip is to follow the instructions closely and carefully while making sure to take your time collecting your sample. Our instructions and tips are there for a reason (we promise!), and by following them you have the best chance of collecting your sample in the best way to get accurate results.
The main reasons you may not get results are:
- The lab can’t match the sample received to your account
- The blood has haemolysed or clotted by the time it arrives at the lab, preventing accurate analysis
- You haven’t collected enough blood to complete the analysis
If you're a female, achieving accurate results requires following more specific guidelines.
So, why might these issues happen and how can you prevent them?
1. The lab can’t match the sample received to your account
Your sample collection process really starts before you even draw your first drop – and by that, we mean you need to make sure your kit is actually activated first. If your sample arrives at the lab correctly, but there isn’t sufficient information to identify that it’s your sample, you may not get your results.
To make sure we can match your sample, you need to:
- Activate your kit: Register your kit online using the QR code provided on your package – all you need to do is scan it with your phone camera. It links your sample to you and allows for tracking and result delivery.
- Fill out the return form: Fill out the return form provided in your package. It’s quick and simple and will make sure we’ve got all the details we need.
- Attach labels correctly: Be sure to label your sample properly, according to the provided instructions. Mislabeling can lead to mix-ups or delays.
2. The blood has haemolysed or clotted by the time it arrives at the lab
First things first: not quite sure that haemolysis is? No problem – we’ll explain. Haemolysis refers to the breakdown of red blood cells, causing the release of haemoglobin into the surrounding fluid. A haemolysed sample can compromise the accuracy of certain tests and can even leave the sample unusable.
To prevent haemolysis:
- Mix tubes correctly: After you've collected your blood, it's crucial to mix it properly with the additives in the collection tube. Follow the instructions provided on how to do this, and you’ll be mixing like a scientist.
- Collect samples Monday to Thursday: This ensures that your sample isn't sitting in a postbox or sorting office over the weekend, or at our lab, which could lead to sample degradation.
Post your sample promptly: Post your sample the same day you collect it, in a priority postbox – you can find one here:https://www.royalmail.com/services-near-you#/ . Delaying sending your sample can increase the risk of haemolysis.
3. You haven’t collected enough blood to complete the analysis
If you do not collect enough blood, there won’t be enough material for testing to be done. Getting enough blood for the sample can sometimes be a challenge, but there are a few tips that can help:
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water before your test can make your veins more visible and blood flow more freely.
Exercise: Exercise can help increase blood flow - light exercise such as swinging arms or some star jumps should be sufficient, however, if blood flow is a problem more vigorous exercise for a longer period should help.
- Warm up your hands: Place your hand in hot (not boiling) water for 3 minutes, or take a hot shower before taking the test. To make sure your blood is pumping into your fingers, you’ll need very warm hands, so stay cosy!
- Massage your finger: When you’ve pricked your finger, massage it to stimulate blood flow in a milking motion down to the pricked area. Don’t squeeze your finger tightly, as this can affect the plasma dilution and lead to haemolysis. If you feel like you can’t get any more blood from your finger, clean another finger and use a new lancet to try again.
- Stand up: Gravity can help with blood flow, so consider standing during the collection process. You could also make sure that your hand is hanging down, and drip the blood into the tubes that way.
- Fasting: Fasting for about 8 hours before the blood draw can help ensure the accuracy of certain blood tests. The easy way to do this is to take your test before you’ve had breakfast, after waking up.
4. If you're a female, achieving accurate results requires following more specific guidelines.
- You should schedule taking your at-home blood test for either the second or third day after your period (menstrual bleeding) has started.
- However, if either of those days falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, take your sample on any other day in the first week of your period instead.
- If you take your sample during the first week of your period as directed, make sure you also select that you are in your “follicular phase” when completing your personal assessment quiz – we need to know the phase you were in when you took your sample for accurate results.
- If you’re currently going through menopause or are post-menopausal, you can take the test at any stage in your cycle, Monday to Thursday.
Failed Biomarkers: What Does it Mean and What to Do?
Failed biomarkers mean that one or more biomarkers couldn’t be tested or accurately measured from your blood sample. This could be due to haemolysis, insufficient sample volume, or other reasons.
If your biomarkers fail, don't worry. You’ll be notified by email, and we will discuss the next steps with you, the options available to you will be dependent on the number of failed biomarkers and the type of test you took. You can then choose to repeat the testing process and get the results you need.
My Tests Keep Failing – What Do I Do?
If you’ve followed all our instructions and tips faithfully but you’re still getting errors with your results or struggling to get the amount of blood you need for testing, it’s okay. While we’ll try our best to help find a solution, at-home blood testing may not be for you right now.
We want to make sure that everyone has access to their health data. So, the good news is that we’ll soon be introducing a phlebotomy service.This means you’ll be able to visit a participating nearby pharmacy or health clinic and have your blood drawn for you venously (through your veins), which you can then send to our lab for results. This will be a quick and easy service that can be a great option for those struggling to take at-home tests – for example, those who experience poor circulation in their hands. Stay tuned for updates, and follow our Instagram @optimallyme to be the first to know!
Our Commitment to Accuracy
We understand how important accurate health data is – it’s our whole business. That's why we offer free, express returns to get your sample to our lab as soon as possible. Our labs are fully safety accredited with our test kits regulated by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, and we’re continuously improving our methods to get you the most accurate results possible.
Our instructional video provides step-by-step guidance on how to use your kit correctly, and you’ll also receive full instructions inside your kit. If your sample fails for any reason, we’ll make sure to provide full support and solutions to help you successfully complete your test.
Got the all-clear on how to get the best results from your sample? As your health ally, we're here every step of the way. For any questions or assistance, drop by optimallyme.com or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure which blood test kit is right for you? Take our quick and easy quiz to find the right match for your health goals!