What is an observed lateral flow test?

Over the last couple years Lateral Flow Tests (LFD) have provided us with a simple, yet highly effective method of rapid testing from the safety and privacy of our own homes. If you’re looking to travel abroad, some countries require you to have taken an Observed Lateral Flow Test. This at-home COVID-19 test is a home lateral flow antigen test that has to be ‘observed’ via a Telehealth consultation for Fit to Fly certificates.

Quick summary of how it works

Arranging an Observed Lateral Flow test is a simple process. First you order your observed LFD and then book your Telehealth consultation at an appropriate date and time. Next, during your telehealth consultation, simply follow the instructions provided in your kit and perform the test.. Once complete, your results will be available on your device within 20 minutes and you’ll receive photo verification within three hours. If your results are negative, then all you’ll need to do is present your results at the airport prior to your flight. If you want to find out more about how to take an observed lateral flow test, click here. Or watch the how to video below:

Which countries currently require an observed lateral flow test?

Currently the only countries that require an observed lateral flow test are the United States and Australia. The test sample must be collected within 1 calendar day before the flight departs for a direct flight and proof of this must be provided at the airport on paper or electronically.

The benefits of Telehealth services and what does the future hold for the technology?

One of the biggest squeezes on NHS resources is the ever rising bill for patient care. For many people, especially seniors, a trip to their local GP can be stressful and time-consuming. And in addition, over the last couple years the NHS (National Health Service) has been under immense strain due to the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. With that said, Telehealth services are looking to position themselves as one of the solutions during this ever changing landscape.

Since the start of the pandemic, it has been increasingly risky for GPs, nurses and doctors to safely complete routine appointments due to the risk of covid spreading and possibly causing an outbreak in their surgery. Thankfully, the improvements to technology can help with that. Technological advancements and wireless communications have catapulted telehealth services and the possibilities for doctors and nurses to participate in the delivery of remote care. Instead of a face-to-face appointment, patients can call up either via phone or video chat to talk with their doctor or nurse and get medical advice without risking an in-person visit.

Even as increased vaccination rates have allowed medical services to open back up as normal to the public, GP surgeries and other NHS services have still utilised telehealth services due to their continuing benefits. It has allowed medical professionals to be able to talk to a wide range of patients while only having people in need of physical examinations in person at the hospital or surgery.

With the increased use of telehealth services across the NHS, patients have also seen the benefits of the system. The use of telehealth can dramatically reduce travel costs and can increase access to care for many people who would otherwise not receive it. Especially in more rural areas where travelling to healthcare services is more difficult. It has also meant that patients who have previously been too anxious to visit a hospital or surgery in person can now talk to a medical professional over the phone or via video chat. 

The growth of telehealth services over the last few years has led to more patients using them. Patients are able to use these services in different ways, including video calls with nurses or doctors, getting remote diagnosis and consultation via phone lines instead of having to physically be present at a surgery or hospital, or even monitoring medical equipment that reads their vitals 24/7.

Another piece of technology that is helping to innovate telehealth services and reduce the strain on the NHS is at-home blood testing. At-home blood testing has been a growing industry in assisting to monitor how their body is performing via vitamin levels, heart health, diabetes risk, liver function, STI testing and more. Blood testing gives you the ability to better understand your current health and what steps you could then take to improve this. With Circle SnapShot you can keep up to date with your general health with a simple at-home blood test and then work with your doctor via telehealth services to analyse your results and gain a better look into how your overall health is.