Home Is Where The Future Of COVID Testing May Be

MetroHealth and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health ran a drive-up testing site in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood in July. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
MetroHealth and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health ran a drive-up testing site in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood in July. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
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The Cleveland Clinic recently started using COVID-19 tests that patients can administer themselves at a drive-through testing site, supervised by a healthcare professional.

The nasal swab testing method is meant to be more comfortable for patients and safer for health care workers. 

But the future of testing might put even more power in the hands of the patient, according to Dr. Dan Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic.

Rhoads said it’s possible we may see more tests where samples are collected at home and sent to a lab by patients. 

“So if it’s being tested at home, sometimes a healthcare worker can watch, via Zoom or telemedicine, can watch it be collected,” he said. “I think we may be headed in that direction more and more.”

Those types of tests already exist, but Rhoads said they aren't as common, possibly because patients still need to have contact with a provider to obtain them.

A recent study from the Stanford University School of Medicine found test samples collected by the patients were as accurate as samples collected by a health care worker.

Rhoads said another possibility is testing at home where patients get results immediately, like a glucose test or pregnancy test, but he doesn’t think that will be available any time soon.

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