Why COVID testing via video is simpler, safer and smarter

Video calls and remote consultations have played an increasingly important role in healthcare over the past 18 months. But as this example shows, innovative providers are always finding smart new ways use embed video into healthcare to achieve better outcomes for everyone.

September 2, 2021

For some countries, a certified rapid lateral flow test (LFT) is a requirement of entry for certain events, activities and travel. For others, the more accurate Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is needed, especially for international travel.

In situations where an LFT is acceptable, the test is required to be:

  • Certified as being conducted properly
  • Correctly attributable to the subject taking it
  • Devoid of any fraudulent behaviour.

To date, meeting these criteria has meant leaving the house or hotel, going to a pharmacy or other point of delivery, and having the test administered and then verified by a qualified practitioner.

But is it possible to use technology to carry out the certification on-line, so the subject doesn’t have to leave their home or hotel room? Well, it seems they now can. And the benefits are pretty obvious: time savings, lower travel costs, reduced environmental impact, and so on.

Save time online

Many countries have been offering these LFT for free (although that varies country-to-country) and their citizens have been self-administering their tests at home. However, if a certified test is required, there is an additional cost for the certification. Some countries are now beginning to charge for the tests themselves, and so the whole exercise can easily become quite expensive.

Seeing is believing

Some enterprising firms in Germany, such as Freetogo and Laive, now offer LFT certifications on-line and over a video conference platform. In Laive’s case they are utilising StarLeaf video conferencing to conduct the verification process.

So how does this work?

  • The subject needs to take an LFT at home (like those offered free by some governments and states, but chargeable by others) and show some form of ID such an identity card or passport.
  • The subject is connected to a qualified supervisor who will guide them through the process over a video conferencing platform. Firstly, the supervisor ratifies the identity of the person to be tested.
  • The testee then carries out their test in front of the video camera, initials and time stamps the test, and then the supervisor photographs the vial and disconnects.
  • 15 mins later the supervisor calls back to ask the testee to hold up their test vial again, and photographs it a second time.
  • Using AI comparison technology, the system confirms that the two photographs are of the same vial and have not been tampered with.
  • Finally, the supervisor issues a certificate (assuming the test result is negative) to the testee via email or via the app. All of this can be done within a 30-minute time period.

Fit for purpose

The key technology here is the video conferencing platform. It must be capable of operating with different latencies (some hotels’ WI-FI night is not always be the best), be simple to use (not everyone is comfortable with the tech) and must be as secure as possible to prevent fraudulent use.

This is an innovative use of video conferencing that is truly reducing cost for the citizens, avoiding unnecessary journeys and their detrimental environmental impact, and helps work towards a return to some sort of pre-pandemic normality.

Learn more about StarLeaf for Healthcare.

David Gingell, CMO
David Gingell, CMO