Can PCR tests be taken in retail pharmacies?
To be able to support patients in the best way and to avoid long waits of many minutes in the laboratory, it is possible for retail pharmacies to implement a system for taking samples that they then send to a laboratory to carry out the analysis and deliver the result. Taking a PCR test in a pharmacy is therefore possible.
The retail pharmacy, a space for collecting samples
Retail pharmacies have played a new role in the patient pathway during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of antigen tests, patients have formed the habit of being tested in pharmacies. Tests for influenza for example were already available in pharmacies, but COVID-19 has democratized this practice. In this way pharmacies have had a major role in COVID-19 screening, but it has to be noted that the laboratory remains the preferred location for quantitative tests or for those which require specific apparatus: RT-PCR for example.
Bringing testing laboratories and pharmacists together
It is rare that laboratories and retail pharmacies work hand in hand, each having their prerogatives and their rules, but COVID-19 has brought these two professions closer. In fact, retail pharmacies allow a first screening step to be performed using antigen tests, then the laboratory reconfirms the result and determines the variant via the RT-PCR technique.
These two specialisms are designed to get along: their aim is to better meet the needs of patients and to provide answers to their problems. The pharmacy offers proximity to the patient, they may ask their questions and be reassured by a professional that they know. The testing laboratory adds further detail to the result. The complementarity of their roles is therefore evident.
The pharmacist can - if they are legally authorized - take samples for patients and give the samples to the laboratory. The testing laboratory will analyze the sample, validate the result and send it directly to the patient.
Ensuring quality control and traceability in all circumstances
The pharmacist must meet a number of regulatory criteria which are necessary to ensure the quality of the result. Sampling is one of the key points in the process. Implementing traceability and quality control for this step is therefore essential.
Taking samples and sending them to the laboratory using appropriate practices ensures that the patient receives a result of optimal quality.
Using its expertise, Magentine has implemented digital tools to guide each sampling step, so these tools ensure traceability, quality control and time saving:
- The pharmacist possesses tools to digitize all information on the subject of the patient and the sample;
- The laboratory information system (LIS) receives the data collected by the pharmacist relating to the pre-analytic phase in real time.
Magentine’s aim is to facilitate the testing process while adapting to the resources that the professionals already have. Thus, we adapt to your laboratory information systems (LIS) and to the procedures already in place in the establishment.
A single focus: the patient!
The primary purpose of taking tests in retail pharmacies (collecting the sample) is to get closer to the patient. As the pharmacist is involved in the lives of these ordinary people, they are able to offer this PCR service to a large number of patients to expand the mass screening operation and optimally limit the spread of the virus.
The PCR test makes it possible to respond to public health issues and specific needs (identification of the variant, requirement for administrative reasons). The interprofessional nature of this plays an important role between the laboratory and the pharmacist.