Our mission at Nurx has always been focused on expanding access to healthcare and achieving public health outcomes with innovative methods and patient-centric approaches. This mission has never been more relevant as our country and global community face an unprecedented and overwhelming public health emergency.
When reports first emerged that testing delays were one of the largest barriers to “flattening the curve” and containing the virus, we quickly recognized we were uniquely positioned to address this pandemic. In partnership with our home testing lab, we have provided tens of thousands of our patients with home testing for infectious diseases, and we are now applying this operational and clinical expertise to COVID-19.
The Nurx team moved with great urgency over the last two weeks to introduce the first COVID-19 home testing and online consultation service today – allowing people to get tested, receive their results, and consult with an experienced medical provider without having to leave their home, which will help reduce possible exposure of others to the virus.
We believe that home testing for COVID-19 will be a crucial part of the strategy to contain the virus, expand access to testing, decrease the risk of exposure to healthcare providers and triage only people who need in-person care to in-person medical care settings. The need for home testing will become even more apparent as more Americans are being asked to stay at home and shelter in place, and more recent novel solutions including drive-through clinics are already overwhelmed.
At launch, we are introducing this service on a limited basis, focused on those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms but do not require immediate medical attention. In the coming weeks, we will be able to consult with and provide home test kits for over 10,000 patients and we’ll expand to serve over 100,000 patients with home kits in the near future
At this stage in the pandemic, we believe that every additional test counts towards slowing the virus and relieving the overwhelming burden on our healthcare system.
Here’s how the service works – We will have new testing kits available for request Monday-Saturday beginning at 7 am PT/10 am ET. After completing an online consultation, a Nurx provider will determine whether home testing is appropriate, based on prevailing public health and clinical criteria for access to COVID-19 testing. Our partner lab will ship the home testing kit overnight along with detailed instructions and a pre-paid overnight mailer to return the sample. Within 48 hours of the lab receiving the sample, a Nurx provider will deliver the test result via the app or website and will advise on appropriate next steps, including whether to seek in-person care or self-isolate. Patients will then seamlessly have access to their clinical providers to ask questions and obtain further advice, on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, when FDA-approved oral medication becomes available for COVID-19, we will be able to prescribe and deliver the medication to our patients.
Here’s what’s included in the service –
- Easy-to-use home testing kit, which includes sample collection materials, detailed guidance and instructions for how to the sample, and a prepaid envelope to return the sample
- Overnight shipping both ways for the test kit to arrive for the patient and for the sample return to our partner lab
- Test results within 48 hours once our partner lab has received the samples
- Online consultation regardless of test results with one of nearly 50 experienced Nurx medical providers, regardless of test results, on an ongoing basis, through Nurx’s secure messaging system.
- Significant patient education is provided with each result, and patients are able to ask unlimited COVID-19 test related follow-up questions, without the need to schedule an appointment
- Supportive care by Nurx’s on-staff team of nurses, navigators, and customer care associates, who work closely with Nurx providers to ensure each patient’s care needs are addressed
Here’s how much the service will cost – as with all of our healthcare services, we are dedicated to making our COVID-19 service as accessible and affordable as possible and at the cost required to bring it to patients. The service will initially be available at the cost to us to provide it: $135 plus $46 for overnight shipping both ways. This cost covers all aspects of the service including the test kit components, unlimited medical provider time, two-way overnight shipping delivery, and administrative costs. The price also allows Nurx and its home testing laboratory partner to sustain this service on an ongoing basis. Patients can submit a receipt from Nurx to their insurance company to help cover the cost of the service, or use their FSA and HSA dollars for a portion of the service.
We are in active conversations with public and private partners to help cover the cost of the service so we can provide it at a lower price or without charge, where possible.
Here’s more about our partner lab – Our longstanding home testing partner Molecular Testing Labs (Molecular) is a CAP-accredited and CLIA-licensed laboratory with extensive experience in infectious diseases and home testing validation.
Here’s who is leading the charge – Our senior medical advisor Dr. Christopher Hall brings over 30 years of experience in the public health dimensions of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and infectious diseases and is a board-certified infectious diseases specialist. Dr. Hall is working closely with Molecular and Nurx’s medical team to determine how we can safely and appropriately leverage our telemedicine platform and home testing infrastructure to address this pandemic.
We hope to expand our impact on this pandemic once treatment is available for COVID-19. If a patient tests positive for the virus, our medical team will be able to prescribe treatment, fulfill the prescription, and ship medication directly to the patient’s home.
Because our patients’ health is the most important priority for our team at Nurx, it would have been near impossible to sit on the sidelines and watch this pandemic unfold without stepping in to help. We will continue to work relentlessly and apply our public health experience to addressing this pandemic.
You can learn more about our COVID-19 service here: https://www.nurx.com/coronavirus-testing/
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.