The Need for confirmation Tests When Using Point of Collection Testing Kits

Submitted on Feb 20, 2015

The Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) recently published an article explaining the importance of confirming all testing with a laboratory. Mobile Occupational Services has always believed in LABORATORY TESTING ONLY. Other industry members use instant or point of collection testing kits (we call them quick kits or shake up kits). These instant kits provide an "instant" result without a laboratory. We have found that despite claims by the manufactures they are not as reliable as a laboratory and are easily compromised by simple things like storage temperature prior to use, expiration dates, adulterant use, and even over the counter medication use. For these reasons we have ALWAYS believed in the use of a laboratory for complete testing. These standards protect the employer and the employee.


DATIA's article explains that those that have been using instant kits and not confirming results with a laboratory, are running into legal issues. Issues so large that it is compromising their liability insurance. This points to issues of the instant kits showing false positives or other issues of invalidity for a donor....ANOTHER REASON TO ALWAYS ONLY USE A LABORATORY. Below is the news bulletin by DATIA for reference.

The Need for Confirmation Tests When Using Point of Collection Testing Kits

When performing laboratory drug testing, the standard practice is and has always been to perform a screening test and then perform a confirmation test (using GC/MS or a similar technology) on all specimens that screen non-negative. When point of collection drug testing (POCT) kits first entered the market, there was much debate on their accuracy. At that time, DATIA issued a policy statement indicating that it endorsed the use of POCT devices provided that all specimens with non-negative results are sent to the laboratory for confirmation testing. The reason being is that the technology used in POCT devices is much like that used for laboratory screening tests. As such, negative POCT results can quickly and easily be reported out allowing employers to quickly put people to work.

While POCT devices do show a “positive” result, it is important to note that that finding is based on technology using much higher threshold levels. Only with a more precise, laboratory confirmation method such as GC/MS can one be confident in the positive result. Furthermore, should the laboratory confirmation result be positive, the result should be filtered through an MRO for final verification.

These industry standard/best practices are set to protect the employer, the employee, and the service provider. DATIA worked in its early years to develop a professional liability insurance program to help protect and support industry service providers in the case of legal actions against them due to services offered. Over the past year, the number of insurance claims made and paid out has increased substantially. What’s troubling is that the vast majority of cases are due to results being reported out based solely on screening/POCT device results. Clearly, these practices do not represent industry best or even standard practice.

DATIA’s professional liability insurance program for the drug testing industry serves a great benefit to those members who utilize it. Unfortunately, due to the high number of claims for reporting results based solely on screening results, DATIA’s policy and many others are in jeopardy and as such are now including in the policy that only results reported after being confirmed are covered under the insurance policy. This requirement is needed to continue these insurance programs and to continue to support and protect those that are following industry best/standard policies.

DATIA continues to completely endorse the use of POCT devices as they provide a great benefit in so far as reporting out negatives quickly and efficiently. DATIA does, however, continue to stand by its best and standard practice that all specimens with non-negative results need to be sent to a laboratory for confirmation testing.