National Institutes of Health announce program as potential model for future care.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has expanded the Home Test to Treat Program “an entirely virtual community health program” with free at-home rapid tests, telehealth sessions, and treatments.
NIH announced it as “the first public health program that includes home testing technology at such a scale for both COVID-19 and flu.”
The program is a collaboration among NIH, its National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Tech program; the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It launched as a pilot program earlier this year in limited locations.
The program seeks adult enrollees who are uninsured or underinsured, on Medicare, Medicaid, or receive care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Indian Health Services. Patients will use the LUCIRA by Pfizer COVIC-19 & Flu Home Test, the first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect both viruses in single test at home.
“For those indicated, treatment must begin within a limited window from onset of symptoms, underscoring the importance of continuity of care, from diagnosis to treatment,” the NIH announcement said. “In addition, providing these services virtually, while individuals remain at home, is intended to expedite the time to treatment and the convenience of accessing services virtually from home.”
Adults can enroll to receive free telehealth and medication will be delivered to patients’ homes if needed, or available at a local pharmacy.
The health officials aim to use the program itself as a test of the test-to-treat model of care, including who uses the program and if it makes it easier for people to access telehealth services.
“While the program is currently focused on COVID-19 and Flu, what we learn from this program will help create better test-to-treat programs for other diseases and health conditions,” said the frequently asked questions page at test2treat.org.