What Happens When You Have a COVID-19 Test?
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, pathology laboratories have developed and delivered over 11 million tests and counting. These tests identify which variants of the virus are present in Australia. This includes any emerging strains that could be more infectious or cause more severe illness. To ensure accurate and prompt results, pathology laboratories follow a strict protocol.
This article will break down the testing process for you into the following six easy steps:
- Pathology Collection
- Pathology Courier
- Specimen Reception
- Medical Scientist
- Data Entry, Results & Reporting
1. Pathology Collection
First, a specially trained person collects the swab sample and confirms all patient details. These details are recorded and stored correctly while awaiting pick-up.
2. Pathology Courier
Next, a dedicated driver collects and transports the samples to the laboratory for testing. Courier runs happen day and night to ensure timely delivery of results.
3. Specimen Reception
The samples arrive at the laboratory for sorting, coding and recording, to prepare for testing.
4. Medical Scientist
Medical scientists conduct sample testing in the microbiology department. In addition, all laboratory equipment undergoes regular quality checks to ensure accurate results.
A pathologist verifies the results. Verification involves examining any abnormalities and determining if further testing is required. This may include genomic analysis of the virus or other diagnostic tests for symptomatic patients.
As well as identifying the present variants of COVID in Australia, pathology laboratories also identify any emerging strains that could be more infectious or cause more severe illness.
6. Data Entry, Results & Reporting
The data entry team will record and deliver the results to the patient and the referring healthcare professionals. All positive results are also sent to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). The NNDSS ensures that each state can track their number of positive results.
Genomic sequencing tracks cases infected with the same variant; this helps to track and trace any outbreaks.
Australia World Leaders in Pathology
Australia has been constantly leading the world in quality pathology. All accredited pathology laboratories in Australia must enrol in the External Quality Assurance (EQA) program for every test performed. This program was developed in Australia by the RCPAQAP and is now used across 30 countries globally. It sends out over 375,000 quality-test samples each year to ensure labs provide the most accurate results and quality services.
From Swab to Result, you can rest assured that your results will be accurate and prompt when you have a COVID test in Australia.