Checking the Claims on Home Health Products

Search the FDA’s site. You can find out whether a device has been cleared by the agency by checking its device database. This means a company has demonstrated that the device is comparable to a product the FDA has already carefully vetted. You can do the same for home medical tests through the FDA’s database of at-home tests. Enter a term such as the type of test (for example, “urinary tract infection”), its name, or the company, then click “Search.”

Check tests for CLIA certification. For at-home tests you send back to a lab to be analyzed, such as a genetic test, check the label or online description to make sure the lab is “CLIA certified.” This means that the test meets federal quality standards and that the lab undergoes regular inspections. Consider that a bare minimum.

Talk to your medical provider. They can help you think through a potential purchase or may know of an easier, less expensive way to get the answers you’re interested in. For example, your doctor could order a test to check your cholesterol levels, rather than have you buy one yourself. Or they may have specific recommendations about home monitoring devices so you’re not left to comparison shop on your own.