Visit some of the most popular websites selling do-it-yourself diagnostic kits for prostate cancer, and you’ll learn how to draw a blood sample at home, seal it in special packaging and send it off to a lab. The tests, most of which measure a marker called prostate-specific antigen, may also inform you regarding the demographics, pathology and prognosis for the illness. What’s missing on most of these websites is any recommendation to discuss the test results with a specialist.

The communications around home PSA tests showcase almost everything that’s right and wrong with the quickly expanding boom in DIY diagnostics. On the one hand, the tests provide valuable insights into diseases where early detection is the best path to a cure. On the other hand, with PSA and many other disease markers, standard recommendations are clouded with controversy, and only a physician can help patients thread their way through the maze.

The problem is, there’s no doctor in this picture. But there are functions a DIY test provider can build into a product website that will emulate a personal touch and improve the odds that patients will get all the attention they require.

This content is repurposed from O’Dwyer’s.