Technology Needs to be Used in a Greater Capacity at Coronavirus Testing Centers | Zebra Blog

Two Healthcare Experts Explain Why Technology Needs to Be Used in a Greater Capacity at COVID-19 Testing Centers

There’s an urgency to understand the reach of COVID-19 within global communities. Yet many mobile and drive-through testing facilities are relying on “clipboard processes” to capture and share data. Find out why – and how – that must change.

by Your Edge Blog Team
May 19, 2020

“When will this all be over? Will we ever be able to get back to normal?”

Those are two questions that have been posed by people around the world nearly every day since the COVID-19 virus emerged and the world as we knew it changed. But we can’t predict the future with complete certainty. We don’t know how this virus will behave tomorrow or next year. Decisions can only be made and actions taken based on the information we have available to us in this very moment. And, right now, we’re in a race against time to gather that data.

Although clinical reports and laboratory studies produce valuable intelligence, global leaders, healthcare providers and scientists all agree that widespread COVID-19 testing must be conducted STAT in order to truly understand the virus’ reach and inform public health policies that will enable us to effectively control its spread, start to rebuild our lives and economies and eventually stabilize. They also agree that testing capacity is lacking on a global scale. Some attribute this to a lack of funding or supplies. Others claim that the lack of best practices and process standardization is a hinderance.

While Zebra can’t necessarily offer a solution to the supply chain or funding constraints, we can tell you how to effectively stand up these testing facilities and improve efficiency and safety within the testing process. In fact, the latter is our forte.

As you will hear about in the latest episode of the Your Edge Podcast, Zebra has been directly involved in setting up mobile and drive-through testing facilities in North America, Europe, Australia and elsewhere around the world – sometimes completing projects in less than 24 hours. We know firsthand that when a testing facility is greenlighted, healthcare providers suppliers must move at the speed of light to get systems online and patients moving through the line.

In the early days, that meant reverting to manual “clipboard” processes to capture patient data and create specimen labels. However, most regions of the world are now in a position to automate critical workflow actions such as contactless positive patient identification, referral confirmation (if needed) and electronic health record (EHR) updates using handheld mobile computers, barcode scanners and/or tablet. They can even generate properly coded specimen labels using mobile printers. Together, these technology solutions can expedite the collection and processing of COVID-19 tests and reduce the risk of manual errors in updating patient records, labeling specimens or reporting results. In turn, it becomes easier to implement effective treatment and containment strategies.

In the spirit of sharing and collaboration, we’ve asked two experts with a combined 50+ years of healthcare experience as clinicians and technologists to explain what exactly needs to be done to get drive-thru testing facilities up and running – in a highly automated manner – in less than a week. If you’re charged with setting up testing sites in any capacity, you’re going to want to hear what Elizabeth Miller and Kathy Marchant have to say:

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:

Why – and How – You Should Automate COVID-19 Testing Sites with Mobile Technologies from the Start

In this 13-minute discussion, Elizabeth and Kathy offer insights into:

  • The mobile and drive-through testing centers that they’ve been involved with setting up
  • The biggest challenges for healthcare workers assigned to these COVID-19 testing facilities
  • How technology is being used – and how it could be used better– to help overcome these challenges
  • What else healthcare providers need to think about when setting up these COVID-19 testing facilities with regards to patient safety and privacy, data security, record accuracy and overall workflow efficiency
  • The lessons that have been learned by healthcare providers, governments and others involved in constructing drive-through testing facilities – including the Zebra team
  • Best practices that they would advise others to follow when planning and constructing additional testing facilities

The Zebra healthcare team is also available to review your specific needs and make more tailored technology system recommendations if you’re in the process of rolling out COVID-19 testing facilities in your community. Please contact us here to schedule a call. Additional resources can also be found on our COVID-19 resource page and the Your Edge blog healthcare feed.

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Editor’s Note:

If you are currently using mobile technologies in your COVID-19 testing facility or plan to equip staff with mobile computers, printers, scanners or tablets in the near future, we also recommend that you watch this device disinfection video featuring guidance from infectious disease expert Darrel Hicks:

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Your Edge Blog Team
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