Home-Based Rapid Detection of Strep Throat: A Case-Study in Parent-Led Testing Education

Strep Throat is one of the most common illnesses in children. With its highly contagious nature and kids’ willingness to share pretty much everything, germs included, most kids get strep throat at least once every one to two years. As a parent, you know what it’s like to have a sick kid. The sleepless nights, trying to fit in a doctor’s visit, and time away from work and school.


But what if there was a way to diagnose a strep infection without a trip to the doctor? Getting a diagnosis, chatting with a doctor, and getting a prescription for antibiotics all without leaving your house. Well, thanks to Checkable, you can do all of the above and more.


Although the rate of complications from strep throat infections is rare, timely and accurate treatment is crucial to avoid any life-threatening complications. According to the College of Family Physicians, rapid detection methods like home strep test kits are a safe and effective way to diagnose a strep infection. In addition, new research has led to the development of strep test kits capable of detecting the proteins of strep throat-causing bacteria. 


These strep throat tests, also known as rapid antigen detection tests (RADTs) for Streptococcal Pharyngitis (strep throat), can give highly accurate results within three minutes of taking a sample. They can be performed manually by taking a throat swab and inserting it into the antigen detection solution.


These strep throat RADTs have been regularly used in health facilities to improve early detection and strep throat treatment. In addition, the speed of detecting strep throat infection can be increased by training parents to use these RADTs at home for their sick children. This can speed up the process of diagnosing Strep throat while reducing the burden on healthcare facilities.


To perform this test at home, you take a throat swab from your child, insert it into the solution provided, and then send the results by email or telephone to a healthcare personnel. If the result is positive, most doctors will suggest the best antibiotic for strep throat to immediately curb the spread of infection. And if the test result is negative, you will be advised on managing your child’s symptoms.


Even though many home strep test tools are readily available online, the utilization rate and parents’ ability to use these strep throat test kits at home are still relatively unknown. That's why scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) Medical Department tested the hypothesis that parents could be trained and learn how to run RADTs for strep throat.


The parents in this study were trained on rapid strep throat tests by watching a 3-minute video. The video described the objectives, the procedures for taking a throat swab from the child and performing the quick test. 

After the video, the parents were asked to take the throat swab and perform the test on their children. Out of 76 parents who agreed to participate in this study, 71 successfully obtained the throat swab and correctly performed the rapid test for strep throat. After the training, more than half of them said they felt confident in their throat-swab-taking skills.


In summary, the authors concluded that home strep tests could allow parents to test their children for strep throat while avoiding visits to the pediatric clinic or missing work and school hours. Plus, at-home testing eases the workload of physicians and clinic staff, allowing them to focus on more urgent cases. This opens up the potential for home-based strep throat rapid detection tests in the future.


To make strep testing an easy process, Checkable brings a quick and easy way to a strep-throat-free life with an innovative testing kit. Diagnose strep throat from the comfort of your own home and get the results in under three minutes without the hassle of waiting in long lines at clinics and hospitals.