Quest Diagnostics is one of the biggest names in the business - perhaps even the biggest - when it comes to drug testing, and last month they got even bigger. Last month, an announcement was made that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was going to allow Quest to start performing drug tests for federally mandated employees by way of electronic Custody and Control Forms, or eCCF. This officially makes Quest the biggest workplace drug test provider that is also certified to provide workers with a Federal eCCF.
Why is being able to issue a Federal eCCF so noteworthy? The accuracy of a Federal eCCF is a major improvement over its traditional paper cousin and, because of this, the eCCF can improve the overall quality of the drug testing process as a whole. This means that both the collection and transport of specimens can be more productive due to the fact that paper-based records, which are often the harbingers of delays and errors, can be reduced or even ultimately phased out.
Right now, Quest is certified to use eCCF for all of their urine workplace drug tests, so long as four of its workplace drug testing laboratories (which are located in Kansas, Georgia, California, and Pennsylvania) successfully complete the inspection and certification process offered by the HHS National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP). This process shows whether or not an organization is a well-oiled machine insofar as how it handles important elements like data security and confidentiality. The plan is for Quest to make Federal eCCF available to a majority of its clientele by the time the fourth quarter rolls around.
Quest is no stranger to eCCF; it has been working with these forms and providing them to private, non-regulated employers for almost ten years. eCCF, which require barcode scanners, electronic signature pads, and other types of related technologies, have been implemented in 1,300 of Quest’s patient service centers, as well as in over 1,000 preferred drug testing collection sites throughout the country.
Bob McCormick, the vice president of Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, is understandably excited for this new development. As he states, Quest has successfully used eCCF for years to offer “testing for millions of non-regulated specimens,” and the company is looking forward to being able to extend this kind of testing to federal programs that are designed to provide workers with a drug-free workplace.
For those already familiar with the traditional paper Custody and Control Form, eCCF is not that much different. The traditional Custody and Control Form is used to order drug tests, to collect and process specimens, and to provide chain of custody documentation (i.e. the life cycle of a sample from the moment it is collected until it is ultimately processed in the lab).
The eCCF can still handle all of these things; it just does it digitally. The only difference between the traditional version and the electronic version is that, in the Federal program, the eCCF also documents the final lab results that are reported to the Medical Review Officers (MROs). However, only laboratories that are approved to provide Federal eCCF by the NLCP can do so, and Quest is well on its way to becoming just such a facility. Congrats, Quest!