Flu is in full effect between October and May of each year and doctors know to expect sniffles, coughs, sneezes, and fever during that time. Patients want quick answers and providers know that a fast diagnosis can curb the symptoms of the flu and potentially save lives. If you’re considering purchasing flu kits online, you want to be sure you not only have the best kits for your patients but for your practice. Use these tips to identify which kit would be best suited to your facility before the flu hits.
Know Your CLIA
Whether you’re a point-of-care testing facility or a small mobile doctor’s office, all laboratory testing requires registration with your state’s Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) agency. A certificate of waiver is both inexpensive and vital to begin testing. Facilities need to not only have a CLIA certificate but also be aware of the regulations laid out by CLIA. When purchasing flu kits online, make sure you know your CLIA certificate and what that certificate entails.
There a variety of flu kits available when purchasing flu kits online and picking the best can seem like a shot in the dark. That’s why it’s important to not only factor in cost and CLIA complexity, but also the sensitivity and specificity of the kit. For a kit to be effective, you need a kit that is highly sensitive in identifying the flu which reduces false-negatives, and a kit that is highly specific which reduces false-positives. Compare the sensitivity and specificity of potential kits to determine which would be the most accurate for your patient population.
Read the Insert
If you want to save time and aggravation when purchasing flu kits online, start by reading the package insert. Every manufacturer of flu kits publishes their instructions and a quick read through of potential kits can help you pick the best kit for your facility. While reading, think about your collection procedures, the time frame providers need results, and how much hands on time is required during the test. Factor all these considerations into choosing the best flu kit for your facility.
Prepare for Training
While purchasing flu kits online is a simple process, testing can’t begin immediately. Test kit operators need to be trained in how to not only perform patient testing but also perform regular quality control. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Once you’ve selected a test kit, contact the manufacturer or distributor to ask about scheduling an in-service to train and educate your staff about rapid flu testing. If your area doesn’t have a sales representative, many manufacturers provide potential customers with additional educational materials to help you properly implement testing in your facility. Ask about procedures, quality control logs, and “cheat sheets” to help personnel properly perform the test every time.
Purchasing flu kits online is a great way to provide more value to your patient and curb the spread of the flu virus and these four tips can help you choose the right test kit for your facility before flu season even starts. Don’t just buy a flu kit and worry about the details later. Make sure that you have your CLIA certificate and know what you want and need out of a flu kit. Then, set aside time for training to properly perform the testing and ensure your patients receive quality care.