MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Members of the West Virginia National Guard's Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) (TF-CRE) are helping roll out a new innovative electronic record system to improve the COVID-19 testing process.
At a recent community testing event at the West Virginia University Student Recreation Center, TF-CRE teamed with the Monongalia County Health Department to use a new electronic registration and tracking system created by Q-Labs based in Charleston.
The new system allows data of people tested to be collected electronically, then immediately linked to the specific testing kit for the individual with a barcode scanner.
Handwritten records have been used to link test kits with individuals. The new system will eliminate the possibility of misplaced paper records and speed up the testing process from the point of service to notification of testing results.
The new system will track patient data more accurately and efficiently throughout the testing process, according to Dr. Lee Smith, executive director of the Monongalia County Health Department.
"The ability to have a single electronic system is going to offer consistency and ease of use," Smith said. "Eliminating the paper trail associated with the current testing process will allow us to provide more timely processing and, most importantly, reporting of testing results to both individuals and public health officials who use that data to set community standards and policies."
The new system was tested in Monongalia County in late September, with plans to make it available quickly statewide.
Spc. Nathan Nelson of the West Virginia National Guard's 201st Field Artillery, a TF-CRE member, said the speed of the system was impressive.
"With this system, entering the data electronically takes about a minute per person, so I'd say it's twice to three times as fast as the handwritten forms," Nelson said. "And, this system will save hundreds of man-hours on the back end having to enter the data from the handwritten forms into required reporting systems."
TF-CRE members have been assisting on COVID-19 testing since March, performing front end registration and providing and maintaining sanitized personal protective equipment for testing teams.
"We've worked with TF-CRE since March, and every one of the events that we've had the Guard has been right there with us," said Smith. "We're very grateful for the professionalism and support they continue to provide."