The date of this issue of LABline, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day, and thousands of healthcare facilities, substance abuse centers, family planning organizations, pharmacies, and other entities throughout the United States are offering free HIV testing. Leading laboratory accreditor COLA is providing guidelines for personnel administering “waived” HIV tests. Waived lab tests are simple tests performed at the point of care and exempted from most federal oversight.
“The HIV test may be fast and easy to administer, but it is critical that we ensure a culture of quality when performing it and any other waived tests,” says Douglas Beigel, COLA Chief Executive Officer. “Failure to do so has the potential to contribute to errors and to negatively impact quality patient care. That’s why providers and consumers alike should be aware of best waived testing practices, not only for HIV testing, but for all types of waived tests, which are becoming increasingly common.”
Beigel recommends that test providers rigorously adhere to the following guidelines when performing HIV and other waived tests: follow all test kit manufacturers’ instructions; regularly check package inserts for any changes to information; perform quality control testing as specified by manufacturers’ instructions; document the name, lot number, and expiration dates for any tests performed; ensure testing personnel have proper training. Read a COLA “white paper” on waived testing.