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What are the advantages of having a blood draw over a finger prick test?

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

Blood draws/phlebotomy and finger prick tests are both commonly used methods for collecting samples of blood and sending it to a laboratory for analysis and then receiving the results after a few days. While both methods can be effective, there are several benefits of a blood draw has over finger prick tests. This short blog will help explain the benefits of a blood draw as a method for collecting blood samples.

One of the main benefits of a blood draw is that it allows for a larger volume of blood to be collected. This can be especially beneficial for diagnostic tests that require a larger sample size, such as complete blood count (CBC) or comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP). A larger sample size can provide more accurate results and can help to detect a wider range of conditions or diseases.

Another benefit of a blood draw is that it allows for multiple tests to be performed on the same sample. This is known as "blood panel" testing and can save time and money for the patient, as well as reduce the amount of pain/discomfort caused by multiple needle sticks, as finger tips have many more sensitive nerves in comparison to further up the arm. Blood panels can include a wide range of tests such as CBC, CMP, lipid panel, liver and kidney function tests, vitamin and mineral levels, and more. Some blood samples require to be put in a centrifuge, which rapidly rotates the sample thousands of times per minuite, this separates the blood into its different components. The required part is then sent to a laboratory for testing, this process cannot be carried out using finger prick tests.

A blood draw also allows for the collection of blood for future testing. Blood can be stored for a period of time in a laboratory and can be used for additional testing if needed. This eliminates the need for the patient to undergo multiple needle sticks if additional testing is required in the future.

Finger prick blood tests can be convenient, delivered to your door and carried out in your own home without the need for a health care professional or clinic visit. However, its important to remember that finger prick blood tests are used as a screening tool and not a diagnostic tool, if there are any irregular results which require further investigation, a healthcare professional may not accept the results of a finger prick test. This could then result in having the same test again, delayed treatment and cost more in the long term rather then carry out a blood draw from the beginning. Additionally you may find it difficult to fill the pot with the necessary amount of blood produced from a small finger prick.

A blood draw allows for the collection of blood from different veins. This can be especially beneficial for patients who have small or difficult-to-find veins, such as older adults or individuals who are dehydrated. By collecting blood from different veins, the risk of complications such as bruising or hematomas is minimized. The blood draw/phlebotomy process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Identification: The healthcare provider confirms the patient's identity and the reason for the blood draw.

  2. Preparation: The patient's arm is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a tourniquet is applied to the upper arm to make the veins more visible.

  3. Vein selection: The healthcare provider selects a suitable vein, usually in the arm, and ties a band or tourniquet above the site to increase the blood flow to the area.

  4. Needle insertion: The healthcare provider uses a sterile needle to penetrate the skin and vein, and blood is collected into a vial or tube.

  5. Collection: The blood is drawn into a tube or vial for laboratory testing.

  6. Aftercare: The needle is removed and a bandage is placed over the puncture site. The patient may be asked to apply pressure to the site to stop any bleeding.

  7. Results: The collected blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis and the results are typically available within a few days.

Overall we would recommend having a blood test completed by a healthcare professional, from a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered provider who send the sample to a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited laboratory to get the most accurate results which can then be used for diagnostic purposes. A provider will also be able to offer you advice on the best time to take the blood tests and take responsibility for arranging transport of the sample to the laboratory in a timely fashion to ensure the sample is still viable when it arrives.

For context the CQC regulates all health and social care services in England. The commission ensures the quality and safety of care in hospitals, dentists, ambulances, and care homes, and the care given in people's own homes. All organisations providing these types of services in England must be registered with them by law. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the United Kingdom, appointed by government, to assess organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services including laboratory services. If you plan on using a provider for blood tests, make sure they are registered with the CQC (which we are) and are using laboratories accredited with UKAS (which we do).

We are able to arrange a blood draw/phlebotomy service at our clinic location as well as providing a convenient service onsite for businesses, peoples own homes and care/nursing homes.

We offer a comprehensive range of blood tests, which can be found on our website, or using this link:

If you have arranged your own blood test kit or made your own arrangements with a laboratory, require a blood draw/phlebotomy service and (if required) we can also offer a centrifuge service

Click here to find out more information and book:

James Murray - MCPara

Director at YPCHealth


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