At-home cholesterol test to pilot across North East and North Cumbria

A pilot is to launch across North East and North Cumbria involving a finger prick blood test, a lateral flow device and an app, to provide results indicating if a person has high cholesterol.

The PocDoc Lipid Test forms part of the pilot, which will see the test offered to around 10,000 people in the region. It aims to speed up the diagnosis process and identify people at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

It means the test can be performed at a person’s home, and forms part of a programme in the region to focus on increasing testing outside of a GP practice, such as at home, on the high street, workplaces and in other community settings.

The programme notes that high risk patients in deprived communities and those who are less engaged with GP services across the region will also be a key priority during the pilot.

The pilot involves downloading an app, completing a questionnaire, pricking your finger and dropping the sample onto a lateral flow test. The test is allowed to develop for seven minutes; then a photo is taken of the test via phone and processed through the app, with the app making results available alongside a personalised health assessment.

Professor Julia Newton, medical director at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria, said: “Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the region and, in many cases, it can be prevented. The PocDoc test has the potential to transform the way we deliver CVD risk assessments and diagnose patients, making it more accessible to people who have previously struggled to engage with the process.

“The AHSN NENC is delighted to support PocDoc in setting up the pilot in the North East, where it will help improve some of the health inequalities faced by communities in our region. Through easier, more cost-effective access to cholesterol testing, we have the chance to reduce the number of people developing CVD, lessen pressure on GPs, keep people out of hospital and increase healthy life expectancy.”

PocDoc has been supported by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria to help secure funding and set up the pilot in the region.