The typical drug testing process involves a job applicant going to a laboratory or drug testing facility to have the test conducted on-site and overseen by a professional technician. However, COVID-19 caused major disruptions to the lab-based drug testing process.
Remote saliva-based drug testing offers a faster, safer, and more cost-effective alternative.
Over the past month, EBI has been exploring how COVID-19 has affected pre-employment drug testing procedures. We’ve discussed basic collection methods and best practices for workers returning to the office. Here, we examine the benefits of remote drug testing for employers and candidates.
Lab-based tests occur when a specimen (urine, hair, oral fluid) is sent to a lab for processing, or the specimen is collected at a lab. Results are usually available after 2-3 days. Lab-based tests are still considered the standard in drug testing, especially among safety-sensitive positions, and are required in Federal and Department of Transportation (DOT) testing.
However, lab-based drug testing can be inconvenient and invasive for candidates, and it is also more complicated and expensive for employers.
“A company would save on average about $20-$25 per collection that the clinic would charge if an employer did the collection themselves,” says Heather Horn, EBI Vice President of Drug Testing, Occupational Healthcare and Wellness Program.
COVID-19’s economic impact highlighted many of these pre-existing issues. Some labs and facilities closed (or reduced hours) during the pandemic making it extremely difficult to find appointments. The ripple effect was a backlog of job applicants waiting to get drug tested, and then sacrificing their health and safety to wait in long lines once they were able to visit a lab. Employers also began hiring more candidates remotely, so they were looking for instant drug tests to onboard workers quickly.
Throughout the pandemic, instant or rapid drug tests have become a more attractive alternative for employers who want to hire quickly, safely, and improve their candidate experience. An instant test provides you with results in minutes at the point of collection. Instant tests typically use urine or oral fluid (saliva). Rapid tests don’t have as many regulations attached to them but can deliver a “negative” or “non-negative” result quickly. If speed is the name of the game in your drug testing efforts, and you’re not regulated by any government bodies, then this may be a good fit for you. It is also less expensive than lab-based tests.
Here are the main benefits of implementing rapid remote saliva drug testing into your drug-free workplace policy:
Remote drug testing via oral fluid is the next evolution in continuing a cost-effective, non-invasive, and safe drug testing program for work-from-home employees. EBI’s Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test is an easy-to-use kit that allows you to get a sample safely without putting anyone at risk. It’s an excellent choice for pre-employment, random, post-accident testing, and work from home testing.
Maintaining a truly safe and drug-free workplace as the pandemic ends requires quick, efficient, and cost-effective pre-employment drug testing, background checks, and even COVID-19 testing. The future of workplace drug testing will be less about impairment and more about ensuring a clean workplace, a healthy workforce, and drug-free working conditions.
Still have questions about drug testing? EBI experts are here to help. Contact our team and we’ll get right back to you.
Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.