Rapid antigen testing is fast becoming a key tool to protect workers, and to alleviate concern many employees may have about health risks relating to returning to work when lockdown ends.
In Australia, up until now, COVID-19 testing has involved taking a nasal-pharyngeal sample from a person and sending it to a laboratory to be analysed using highly accurate PCR technology.
However, businesses are now turning to rapid antigen testing as a primary COVID-19 surveillance tool and as a key safety approach to encourage employees to return to the workplace.
DHS rolls out new solution
Direct Health Solutions (DHS) recently collaborated with global healthcare company Roche Diagnostics Australia to rapidly scale rapid antigen testing (RAT) via an innovative, digital-first testing solution.
In the past three weeks alone, DHS deployed a team of 200 nurses and onsite testers across NSW, Victoria and Queensland, and administered over 80,000 tests on client sites.
How the digital solution works
The DHS team provides the SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Nasal test, supplied by Roche Diagnostics, and administers onsite testing using an app, NAVIFY® Pass, to track and administer results.
NAVIFY Pass allows for multiple tests and a range of data to be managed seamlessly, creating an efficient workflow for the business. It also gives the test recipient their results on their phone for personal record or to access work sites as necessary. DHS also manages each site's full test records for any customer or public health reporting requirements.
The DHS health testing team also seamlessly use NAVIFY Pass to:
- Log into the site profile by scanning a site-specific QR code
- Scan a test recipient QR from their mobile
- Take the sample and scan a QR on the test device
- Enter the result in the NAVIFY Professional app
- Send the result straight to the test recipient's mobile phone and to a back-end file so DHS can securely and efficiently manage each site.
Protecting business continuity
These new digital tools and scientific innovation help improve testing efficiency while helping protect employees and ensuring business continuity.
Given the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta strain currently in circulation, the faster the infected individual is isolated, the more chance we have to reduce transmission.
This is why rapid antigen tests are a great option where speed is key. DHS sees this as critical to future-proof the Australian businesses, protecting workforces and reducing the chance of further lockdowns.
Home tests not a replacement for businesses doing their bit
Businesses should not see rapid antigen home testing, set to be available from November, as a replacement for businesses doing their part to protect their staff.
RAT is going to become even more important for businesses, because with restrictions easing there's going to be an increase in COVD in the community — that's where the power of RAT comes into its own. You need to identify the asymptomatic cases while they're infectious so you prevent them getting onto the worksite.
RAT is here to stay
Even if Government restrictions ease, businesses have a duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their teams. The UK is an excellent example of how rapid antigen testing on worksites has become an essential part of day-to-day business operations, and it's making a significant difference in helping balance public health measures with keeping the economy going.