Supporting Communities to Evaluate, Test, and Disseminate Considerations for Off-Site Testing for COVID-19

By: Tim Elwell PhD, MBA, President & CEO, Qualidigm; Craig Brammer, President & CEO, Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement

Updated on November 5, 2020

On March 16th, 2020, the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated the WHO’s key aggressive public health response to combat COVID-19 is to “test, test, test. Test every suspected case.”

National, state, and local authorities are moving quickly to test innovative approaches to identify, contain, and treat COVID-19 and there is emerging information from communities across the United States that have implemented drive-through testing. Additionally, there are now international examples that provide support for lessons learned for extensive and rapid testing.  

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) and Qualidigm, a regional member and collaborative healthcare consulting company,  in partnership with national and regional organizations is conducting a rapid assessment of current off-site testing practices  of COVID-19. We are applying an inclusive and collaborative approach to develop a framework of practices that can be translated into actions that resonate with diverse public health and healthcare stakeholders and address shared challenges.   

We recognize that longterm experience responding to COVID-19 does not exist.  Therefore, results associated with this assessment are supported by empirical evidence, which must be scientifically proven over time. However, our qualitatively based approach includes an integrated team including an epidemiologist, infection control expert, and qualitative research scientist. Together, the team has worked to frame important questions, utilizing current best practices which focus on the remediation of serious infections and spread.  Our early efforts have uncovered that community leaders, despite demanding schedules responding to the emerging crisis, are eager to share information about successes and challenges. Preliminary considerations for off-site testing are focused around five themes: collaboration, staffing, communication, accessibility, and safety.


Photo credit: John Thlumacki | Boston Globe | Getty Images|

The full report was published in Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science.

For more information on the project, contact Stacy Donohue, Senior Director, NRHI

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About NRHI:
The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) is a national organization representing nearly 70% of the United States with its Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives (RHICs) and State partner membership. These multi-stakeholder organizations are working in their regions and collaborating across regions to transform the healthcare delivery system and achieve the Triple Aim: improving the patient experience of care, including quality and satisfaction; improving the health of populations; and reducing the per-capita cost of health care. To learn more, visit

About Qualidigm:
With its corporate headquarters in Wethersfield, Conn. and representation in Maine; New Hampshire; Vermont; and Rhode Island, Qualidigm’s mission is to transform the quality, safety, and value of healthcare by leading, collaborating, and aligning improvement efforts. Qualidigm provides quality improvement, project management, evidence-based education and learning sessions, evaluation, and technical assistance services to clinicians, healthcare organizations, and communities. To learn more, visit



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