What happens to a specimen immediately after it is collected?
1. From the point of collection, the specimen is packaged & sent to the laboratory via carrier or FedEx.
2. Specimens are processed in a strategic fashion by the certified laboratory. Once the specimen arrives at the lab, the specimen and the accompanying COC are unpackaged. The COC and the specimen vials are scanned at multiple points in each process for record keeping & also to guarantee accuracy.
3.The specimen is divided into equal parts for the testing process & the first immunoassay test is conducted. If the preliminary finding suggests that the specimen is positive, it is sent to another part of the lab for GC/MS confirmation testing. Another primary reason for dividing the specimen is to also reserve a portion in the event that a split specimen test is requested by the donor.
4. The specimen is then tested via the GCMS or Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) combines the features or gas-liquid chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) & makes it possible to identify different substances within the sample. Initial (immunoassay) and confirmatory (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry [GS-MS]) tests are the methods most frequently utilized for drug tests. Implementing these tests allows a high level of sensitivity and specificity. The approach also reduces the chance for false positives or false negatives greatly.
5. The exact findings of the screening test are confirmed and the laboratory generates an official report to record their findings. The report will include the specific test performed, the panels or drugs that the specimen was tested for, and the final verdict for each panel (positive, negative, or a cancelled specimen as a whole). Positive results will also feature the appropriate quantitative level for the verified substances and corresponding panels listed.
6. Normal negative results are reported immediately by the applicable reporting arrangements determined by the lab account profile.
7. If a result is positive, it is sent to the MRO or Medical Review Office for a final review. Multiple attempts are made to contact the donor in an effort to obtain a valid medical explanation. Quality and accuracy are of utmost importance to NTA, Inc. as the valid medical explanation is determined. Since drug tests are based on the detection of drug metabolites, it is of primary importance that the correct medication causing the positive is identified. In short, the goal of the Medical Review process and steps is to verify that the prescription serving as the contributing factor was legally prescribed to the donor prior to the drug test collection date. The Medical Review Officer or Medical Review Assistants attempt to contact the donor adhering to a high-level of procedural standards and practices based on the type of test being processed, for example;
7a. DOT Results are processed in accordance of DOT Regulations and federal guidelines and with respect to the Medical Review Officer’s responsibility.
7b. NON-DOT Results are processed according to NON-DOT procedures and are generally processed by our highly-qualified Medical Review Office Assistant Staff.
8. If the laboratory determines that a result is cancelled, the MRO Office will review the result and attempt to make contact with the donor as outlined above. A cancelled result can be attributed to a multitude of scenarios and findings. Examples of Cancelled Result causes or contributing factors include fatal flaw detection or rejection, abnormal PH, immunoassay interference, or abnormal creatinine level.
9. Once the full medical review process has concluded, the result is reported to the client as a verified result, negative result, or cancelled result.
- Normal Negative tests are usually reported within 24-48 hours from the time they enter the laboratory for analysis.
- Positive or Cancelled tests are usually reported from the laboratory within 5-7 business days from the time they are received for processing.