As we work to safely reopen our economy, continued and ongoing COVID-19 testing will be a key component in preventing another uncontrolled outbreak and minimizing the number of “hot spots.” The clinical laboratory industry has worked hard to increase capacity for testing to meet the new demands. In order to open schools, universities, other public events and gatherings safely, it will require connecting laboratories with available testing and the various tracing, proof-of-testing apps and solutions.
To maintain the reliability of those solutions, a “chain-of-evidence” model that electronically delivers verified patient results to the solution will be necessary. This will be key in helping to combat false results that could come from a variety of sources, including patients self-diagnosing themselves as positive, hiding results because they don’t “feel sick” and don’t want to miss that concert event, or even bad actors trying to falsely trigger proximity contact tracing apps in a crowded space. Since there are no national or even regional platforms emerging for contact tracing or proof-of-testing, a clinical lab performing COVID-19 testing will need to be vendor neutral and be able to scale rapidly. A partnership with a clinical data exchange (CDE) engine allows a laboratory to have this neutrality and scalability available.
In addition to meeting the electronic order requirements of the clinical lab, a strong CDE partner can quickly and efficiently work with the variety of apps and solutions that are emerging. These vendors have varying data requirements, varying levels of experience with clinical data, and a lab’s CDE partner should be one that can navigate that without causing the lab any extra work. The CDE should have the ability to manage the complexity of patient identification, to ensure the right results are attached to the right person. When bringing the right tools, a CDE partner brings tremendous value to a laboratory, for COVID-19 and beyond.