LOS ANGELES, CA — June 15, 2020 — TestDirectly, the direct-to-consumer web portal that connects patients, companies, collection centers, laboratories, and physicians for fast, safe, and easy testing, has partnered with Northwest Laboratory and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to collect and test the state’s 500,000 long term care (LTC) residents and staff for COVID-19.
The partnership—that’s already reached 150,000 collected and processed tests—is addressing the need to protect Florida’s senior population while also answering last month’s call to action from the Trump administration. In May, the White House called on every state to quickly test all of its LTC residents and employees for the virus.
“The very next day (after the Trump announcement) we were approached by Florida’s Department of Health,” said LigoLab Information System CEO Suren Avunjian. “Their objective was to be the first state to complete the challenge set by the administration, even though they have one of the highest senior populations in the country. Within a week we had the TestDirectly platform up and running, ready to test a half-million residents and employees across 4,000 facilities and 67 counties.”
Avunjian and his team swiftly built and brought to the market TestDirectly as a LigoLab sister company in February of this year. The LigoLab-TestDirectly integration goes way beyond simply capturing requisitions (order forms), it provides an end-to-end platform that covers the entire testing workflow from self-registration, to report delivery, to follow-up, with fast and accurate results delivered directly to the patients.
(LigoLab’s Suren Avunjian and Northwest Laboratory’s Jennifer Bull joined Robert Michel, host of the Dark Intelligence Group’s COVID-19 Stat Intelligence Briefing, to discuss the partnership - click here to access the webinar).
In the first phase, Florida’s objective is to conduct a baseline test to identify asymptomatic patients. Once the baseline test is complete, the collection and testing responsibility shifts to the senior care facilities.
The TestDirectly platform is assisting Florida’s collection efforts by enabling all LTC employees to self-register online from any computer or mobile device, and all facility administrators to order multiple tests for their residents through the same portal. This streamlines the collection process, eliminating additional paperwork, data entry errors, and contact risk.
Florida’s DOH has a strike team that’s coordinating the registration and collection of specimens from every facility. The department is using both paper and electronic workflows for registration and collection, and every order receives a unique barcode ID.
The department collects 10,000 nasopharyngeal swab samples daily and then boxes them up along with the requisitions, before shipping them across the country to Northwest Laboratory in Bellingham, Washington.
Soon after the specimens and requisitions arrive at the laboratory, the barcodes are scanned and the orders are electronically fed into the LigoLab LIS. The system next generates labels for both the requisitions and the specimens, and this allows the specimens to go right to processing in a streamlined workflow that enables the laboratory to routinely test 10,000 samples a day.
The turnaround time for processing is four to six hours after the specimens arrive at the laboratory, and the transfer of the results from the instrument interface to the LigoLab LIS, and then to the TestDirectly platform, is all completed within 10 minutes. Florida’s LTC residents and employees receive their test results via the portal within two to three days of collection.
“We are very grateful for the attention that TestDirectly and LigoLab have given us in support of our Florida initiative,” said Dayle Mooney, manager, community preparedness, Florida Health. “It’s been amazing for us and we look forward to continuing that relationship. I hope others will take advantage of the opportunities that LigoLab has given Florida.”
The TestDirectly portal cuts out the friction and inefficiency for labs, and it’s positioned Northwest Laboratory to go from accepting a statewide contract during a pandemic to releasing 150,000 COVID-19 test results and counting in just over two weeks.
“Besides the workflow in the lab and the efficiencies that the partnership has brought, we continue to work daily with the LigoLab team to identify any part of the process that can become more efficient and more quality-driven,” said Jennifer Bull, chief operating officer at Northwest Laboratory.
Bull noted that Florida’s DOH has access to a desktop application of the LigoLab LIS to monitor the test results and prevalence in real-time, and that transparency has allowed the department to quickly get in touch with county health departments to isolate those who test positive and to initiate contact tracing. The fact that patients and administrators can log in and get their own results also relieves a huge burden for the lab and the health department.
“We would not have been able to accomplish what we have with any other LIS vendor,” said Bull. “I call Suren and his team 24/7 and they are always helpful. Knowing that you have a partner that you can rely on is huge when you have a commitment as large as the one we have with Florida.”
In addition to Florida, TestDirectly is also currently deployed in Illinois, Colorado, and Washington. More states will be coming up soon.