On Wednesday, UnitedHealth Group said a study led by its research team and OptumCare doctors showed that "a simple, self-collected test is as effective in identifying COVID-19 infections as the current medical test."
The test is also less invasive and only requires the patient to rub the front of the nose and nose. The current test regimen requires a trained health worker to collect samples from the depths of the patient's nasal cavity.
"Making simple patient-administered tests widely available will substantially improve testing efficiency, while protecting healthcare workers and preserving urgently needed personal protective equipment such as face masks, gowns, and gloves, "said Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, leader of the study. an infectious disease expert at The Everett Clinic, part of OptumCare.
The study found that self-administered tests accurately detected COVID-19 in more than 90% of positive patients, which is consistent with tests performed by doctors.
UnitedHealth Group says the Food and Drug Administration has updated its guide for healthcare providers, allowing patients across the country to self-administer swab tests for COVID-19.
The study included nearly 500 patients at OptumCare facilities in Washington state.
The new tests are reportedly to be implemented by UnitedHealth Group at its Seattle-area clinics.
UnitedHealth Group is based in Minnetonka.