The combination of home testing and telemedicine could help contain the spread of the coronavirus, says a leading expert. Dr. Marty Makary, a health expert at Johns Hopkins and a New York Times best-selling author, told USA Today in an opinion piece that we are not optimizing our remote capabilities for COVID-19 testing in the U.S. People are still venturing out into clinics and doctor’s offices when they could self-test at home and prevent exposure to the virus, both to themselves and others.
“Moving aggressively towards self-administered in-home testing ahead of a potential second wave should continue to be a top national priority,” Makary wrote, adding that home testing for pregnancy and insulin levels for those with diabetes has been in place for decades.
Abbott received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August for its $5, 15-minute COVID-19 antigen test called the BinaxNOW to detect active coronavirus infections. The company plans to ship tens of millions of tests, ramping up to 50 million or more tests this month, according to a news release.
Makary said that self-screening at home can help the country reopen as people can check their status before traveling, going to work or school, or attending an event. “When someone tests positive, they’ll simply self-quarantine until they no longer pose a contagion risk to others,” he stated.
Seniors, who are at greater risk for complications of COVID-19, are ready for telemedicine and in-home testing. A survey conducted in July of Medicare eligible seniors by Healthinsurance.com shows that this age group is embracing technology during the pandemic and are comfortable receiving virtual care through telemedicine, ordering prescriptions online, and managing their health using wearables.
“The technology exists, and people want to be able to be tested at home, where they don’t run the risk of virus exposure,” Makary wrote, according to USA Today. “It’s time to re-evaluate testing centers and invest in bringing coronavirus screening into the 21st century.”
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