COVID-19 testing has been at the forefront of many people’s minds since the start of the pandemic. However, numerous challenges and obstacles have put significant stress on the country’s testing capacity. Even with the vaccine, testing will continue to be necessary as the general public will have to wait months before receiving it. A significant number of people may also decline it over safety concerns. Until then, COVID-19 testing will remain in high demand and a top priority for managing the healthcare experience for patients and staff members.
To keep up with this demand, healthcare organizations need to follow a smart and thought-out strategy for managing tests. In our latest blog post, we will review the different challenges labs face with COVID-19 testing and how they can ensure a smooth flow of data among laboratories, EHRs, pharmacy systems, and other organizations.
Major Challenges Disrupting the Healthcare Experience for COVID-19 Testing
The healthcare experience has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing high demand for tests.
Testing facilities have faced major challenges when it comes to managing the high demand for COVID-19 tests. Some of the challenges they are dealing with include supply chain shortages and the need to report numerous external organizations' results.
Supply Chain Shortages
Many testing centers have trouble sourcing collection kits for testing. As a result, they have to make their own by sourcing swabs and viral transport media. Reagents and instruments are also limited in supply, increasing the current burden the testing system is already facing.
Multiple Places to Report
Testing centers must report results to all 50 state health departments according to the patient’s address. This can further burden smaller organizations, especially if they don’t have a streamlined method for filing these reports.
Solutions for Handling the High Demand for COVID-19 Tests
Following safety measures will continue to be important even as vaccines are distributed.
While testing facilities have spent millions of dollars to meet the increasing demand for COVID-19 tests, many organizations are still in danger of being overwhelmed. Experts believe that lowering demand is the most effective method for addressing the potential shortage in supply.
According to the CDC, people who should get tested include:
- People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fatigue, loss of taste or smell, fever, and chills
- Anyone who has had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Employees who work in high-risk occupations
- People who have been in crowded areas like an airport or indoor event
- Patients asked to be tested by a healthcare provider or health department
People who do not follow the above requirements may not need to be tested. Even after receiving a negative test result, people are still encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing. Even though they did not test positive for the one test, they are still at risk of catching COVID-19 if they do not follow public health guidelines.
Healthcare providers must also remain vigilant about reporting COVID-19 tests. That is why hundreds of organizations turn to health IT solutions like Pub Hub 2.0 to meet this need.
Meeting the Demand for COVID-19 Lab Testing
Iron Bridge Pub Hub 2.0 is connected to electronic lab reporting registries across the U.S.
Under the CARES Act, clinical labs and testing providers with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate must report all COVID-19 tests they have conducted. Companies that do not already utilize electronic health records or any other streamlined IT solution for reporting may end up being further burdened by this new mandate.
Pub Hub 2.0 platform by Iron Bridge makes it easier than ever for healthcare providers to remain compliant with these new reporting requirements. Pub Hub 2.0 platform can connect your lab or clinic to all state electronic lab reporting registries in the country. Other key features of Pub Hub 2.0 platform include:
- A simple API that can be integrated easily into existing workflows
- Quick enrollment service that lets new customers get started right away
- Compliance to Meaningful Use and other regulatory requirements
Rather than having to build and maintain point-to-point registry connections in-house let the IT experts at Iron Bridge handle it. Once Pub Hub 2.0 is implemented into the workflow, electronic lab reporting can begin.
As the demand for COVID-19 tests remains high, healthcare leaders must continue to follow a strategic method for distributing and tracking tests. With Pub Hub 2.0, testing labs can connect to reporting registries around the country. This allows participants to seamlessly report COVID-19 lab results to all state electronic lab reporting registries through a single connection.
To learn more about Iron Bridge’s health IT solutions, contact the team today!