Updated June 8, 2020.
COVID-19 testing, its importance, its availability, and its efficacy is perhaps the most talked about aspect of coronavirus among Americans. And while various community transmission mitigation tactics are being employed in regions across the country, including stay home mandates, bans on public congregations, and travel restrictions, many public health experts and scientists agree that widespread availability of testing for COVID-19 would aid efforts in more accurately tracking the virus’ spread.
One Medical’s patient care teams are more determined than ever to deliver essential care to those who need it most. So, we are conducting testing at locations across the country and are moving quickly to evolve our testing protocols and plans in response to new information, new supply and equipment availability, new testing technologies, and updated guidance from the CDC, WHO and local departments of public health.
Below is everything you need to know about One Medical’s philosophy and approach to COVID-19 testing.
What are the public health benefits of testing?
In a pandemic, several pillars of the public health response can help slow the spread of disease.
As a healthcare organization, One Medical has a unique and powerful opportunity to uphold one of these pillars: appropriately testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 will make a significant impact on our patients and our communities in slowing the spread.
We’re proud that we’ve been able to support our communities through testing since our first sample collection site opened in Seattle on March 7th.
Here’s why we, as a company, are working diligently to support testing during this outbreak:
- Case finding: By helping our cities understand where the most cases or most severe cases are, we help inform the degree of public health intervention needed to slow the spread of the virus. Countries like South Korea and Taiwan that have best dealt with controlling the spread of COVID-19 demonstrated that having readily available testing is a cornerstone of their program’s success.
- Contact tracing: When we confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19, our local health departments work with our patients to inform and monitor their close contacts who are at-risk of becoming sick.
- Steer guidance to patients: While we strongly recommend everyone with cold or flu symptoms self-isolate until several days after they’re feeling better, many peoples’ lives have complexities that make that difficult (e.g.caretakers and health care workers whose jobs are critical to show up in person). Providing them with a test helps inform their decision about how to implement our self-isolation guidance.
Who is One Medical testing?
At the beginning of this outbreak, we were originally only able to test those who were at highest-risk, due to limited lab capacity and resources. As testing procedures have improved, however, we‘ve been able to expand our testing services to the general public. Now, anyone with coronavirus concerns, including those without symptoms who are worried about spreading the virus, such as those or who need to interact with high-risk individuals or need to travel, can be tested through One Medical. Learn how to book a testing appointment here.
What is One Medical doing to make testing more readily available?
We are working hard to explore all possible avenues to increase the volume of patients we can recommend for testing. Here are a few of the things we are currently doing:
- Setting up outdoor testing sites: Because open air testing allows our providers to see a higher volume of patients while using a lower quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE), we think this is a great path forward to safely and efficiently test our patients. We already have drive-thru testing up and running in several cities with more coming soon.
- Collaborating with our health system partners: Having established relationships with some of the most prestigious hospital groups across the country, we are communicating with them frequently to identify opportunities for joint testing efforts. For example, we have a co-operated testing site, with UCSF in San Francisco where we have mobilized a COVID-19 test drive-thru.
- Partnering with private labs: In order to ensure we can process patient specimen samples for testing in a timely fashion, we are working with commercial labs and our health system partners to leverage laboratory services that best suit the needs of our members.
- Evaluating home test kits: As companies move quickly to develop home testing kits, One Medical’s clinical leaders are assessing all options to find tests that would offer better ease of access, a high level of accuracy and a short turnaround time for test results. Currently the FDA’s emergency use authorization for COVID-19 tests does not extend to at-home test kit solutions, which may be a gating factor in their use in the near-term.
To understand if you may be a candidate for COVID-19 testing, read more about our Treat Me Now symptoms assessment that is available via One Medical’s mobile app.
The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.