Test yourself ! A project on medical devices for self-testing

July 1, 2011

Test your cholesterol, test your glucose. Test if you have chlamydia or HIV. Check whether you have prostate or colon cancer or find out if you have alcohol or drugs in your blood!
The increasing number of self-tests on the market calls for a discussion on how the public health sector could make best use of and handle the many new tests.

The fact that the number of self-tests sold over-the-counter has increased tremendously within the last ten years, has attracted very little political attention. The tests are sold from pharmacies, supermarkets and via the internet. So far there is only very little knowledge about the consumption and use of self-tests as well as the positive and negative effects of self-testing.

The booming supply of self-tests seems to be connected to the general development in society. More and more citizens want access to information on their health condition without consulting the health care system. And the technological development has made is possible to produce small and affordable tests that are easy to use for non-health professionals.

The purpose of the project was to create an overview of the variety of self-tests and to discuss how the public health sector should handle the various products. A working group of Danish health professionals discussed the issues at twelve meetings, including a workshop with other health professionals. The arguments, conclusions and recommendations of the working group was compiled in a report which the group members presented to Danish parliamentarians and the public in October 2011. The report is written in Danish but on the right you will find a link to an English summary of the conclusions and recommendations.

Members of the working group:

  • Bibi Hølge-Hazelton, Research Region Zealand and The Research Unit for General Practice and Section of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen
  • Gregers Hansen-Nord, General Practitioner
  • Henriette Langstrup, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen
  • Henriette Mabeck, The Danish Institute for Health Services Research
  • Janine Morgall Traulsen, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, University of Copenhagen
  • John Brodersen, Department of Public Health, Research Unit and Section for General Practice, University of Copenhagen
  • Kim Brixen, University of Southern Denmark, Odense University Hospital
  • Sine Jensen, The Danish Consumer Council
  • Svend Juul Jørgensen, The National Board of Health, Denmark