W.Va. Guard Assists with New COVID-19 Testing Innovation

By by Staff Sgt. Timothy Sencindiver | West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Oct. 9, 2020

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 assisting with the roll-out of a new innovative electronic record system aimed to improve the COVID-19 testing process.

At a recent community testing event at the West Virginia University Student Recreation Center, TF-CRE teamed up with the Monongalia County Health Department to utilize a new electronic registration and tracking system created by Q-Labs, headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia.

The new system allows data of those being tested to be collected electronically, then immediately linked to the specific testing kit for the individual by utilizing a barcode scanner. Until this point, handwritten records have been used to link test kits with individuals. The new system will eliminate the possibility of misplaced paper records and will help speed up the testing process from point of service to notification of testing results.

The new system will help more accurately and efficiently track patient data throughout the testing process according to Dr. Lee Smith, Executive Director of 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 beta-tested in Monongalia County in late September, with hopes to quickly make it available statewide. The speed of the system was impressive to TF-CRE member Specialist Nathan Nelson of the WVNG’s 201st Field Artillery.

“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 stated. “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. From point of service all the way to eventual notification and reporting, this system is tremendously beneficial.”

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 assigned COVID-19 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.”