News that the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security were ready to plop down $230 million for at-home COVID-19 tests may have been great for the manufacturer, but it could have a deleterious effect on urgent care and other clinical settings that conduct testing—and on the patients the tests are designed to help, as well. The concern is that not all patients will be able to follow the instructions or be physically able to administer the test well enough to get reliable results. Consequently, it’s likely that we’ll have asymptomatic people who actually have COVID-19 walking around unknowingly infecting others. Further, even patients who do get solid results may be at a loss as to what their next steps should be if they test positive. Then there’s the question of whether they can be relied on to report the results responsibly. Keep recommending that all patients get tested in your urgent care center, regardless of their presenting complaint. And once you’ve conducted the test and conveyed the results to the patient, be sure to follow suit with local and state health departments.
Follow-Up: Make the Case to Keep COVID-19 Testing in a Clinical Setting—for the Good of Patients and Your Practice