Quest to sell online COVID-19 test kits that do not require visit to doctor

Secaucus-based Quest Diagnostics is now offering a COVID-19 test that individuals can order online without visiting a doctor’s office.

The company said individuals can purchase the QuestDirect COVID-19 Active Infection test through QuestDirect, the consumer-initiated testing business of Quest Diagnostics.

Quest officials said the turnaround times to report results can vary with demand, but currently average two days. They also said post-test telehealth support for individuals seeking to understand their results and take appropriate actions is available.

Here’s how the process works:

After an individual purchases the test online, a licensed physician with an independent national network of physicians providing clinical oversight for QuestDirect services will promptly review the order and, if deemed appropriate, order the test.

Quest provides two options for specimen collection:

  • A specimen collection kit is mailed to the individual’s home. The individual may then submit the specimen in the kit via FedEx overnight to a Quest Diagnostics laboratory for testing.
  • An individual may also opt to purchase the kit online and take it to one of more than 500 Walmart drive-thru pharmacy window locations in the United States for observed collection. At these Walmart locations, a trained pharmacist will observe the collection process and the specimen will be picked up from a secure drop box and delivered to a Quest laboratory for testing.

The company said test results will be available through an online patient portal MyQuest — which can be accessed by smartphone, tablet or desktop computer — and directly imported into a consumer’s MyCircle, an online platform that securely links the results across authorized individuals, such as caregivers and dependents.

Quest officials said the test is appropriate for individuals who seek access to COVID-19 diagnostic testing due to COVID-19-like symptoms or exposure to someone with COVID-19.

The kit includes a device for anterior nares (nasal) swab collection, a comparatively noninvasive specimen collection technique that involves inserting a swab into one nostril in the front of the nose.

Jay Wohlgemuth, the chief medical officer at Quest, said accessible, high-quality COVID-19 diagnostic testing is essential to containing the spread of the virus.

“With our new QuestDirect COVID-19 Active Infection self-collection kit, anyone can access a high-quality COVID-19 test with access to interpretation and referral into care from a physician,” he said.