• Open Access

Quality and use of consumer information provided with home test kits: room for improvement

Authors

  • Janaica E. J. Grispen MSc,

    PhD Student, Corresponding author
    1. Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    • Correspondence

      Janaica E. J. Grispen

      Department of General Practice

      CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care

      Maastricht University

      P.O. Box 616

      6200 MD Maastricht

      The Netherlands

      E-mail: janaica.grispen@maastrichtuniversity.nl

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  • Martine H. P. Ickenroth MD,

    PhD Student/trainee General Practitioner
    1. Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • Nanne K. de Vries PhD,

    Professor of Health Promotion
    1. Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • Trudy van der Weijden MD PhD,

    Professor of Clinical Practice Guidelines
    1. Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • Gaby Ronda PhD

    Senior Researcher
    1. Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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Abstract

Background

Diagnostic self-tests (tests on body materials that are initiated by consumers with the aim of diagnosing a disorder or risk factor) are becoming increasingly available. Although the pros and cons of self-testing are currently not clear, it is an existing phenomenon that is likely to gain further popularity.

Objective

To examine consumers' use of and needs for information about self-testing, and to assess the quality of consumer information provided with home test kits, as perceived by consumers and as assessed using a checklist of quality criteria.

Methods

A cross-sectional Internet survey among 305 self-testers assessed their use of and needs for information and their perception of the quality of consumer information provided with self-test kits. A meta-search engine was used to identify Dutch and English consumer information for home diagnostic tests available online at the time of the study. The quality of this consumer information was evaluated using a checklist of quality criteria.

Results

The consumers' information needs were in line with the most frequently used information, and the information was perceived as being of moderate to good quality. The information was mostly in agreement with clinical practice guidelines, although information on reliability and follow-up behaviour was limited. Approximately half of the instruction leaflets did not include information on the target group of the test.

Conclusions

Although generally of moderate to good quality, some aspects of the information provided were in many cases insufficient. European legislation concerning self-tests and accompanying information needs to be adapted and adhered to more closely.

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