JCMA’s pooled testing approach, efficient sample check-in process, and powerful technology platform allow partner schools and districts to safeguard in-person learning during the school year.
Pooled testing provides an efficient, cost-effective means of detecting SARS-CoV-2 in a sub-population, such as a school or class. Our lab partners use special processing methods to maintain the sensitivity of the test when pooling samples. With these methods, a positive individual can be detected in pools of up to 20 samples with effectively the same probability as an individual test.
Our service goes one step further, however, and includes reflexively re-testing the individual samples that contributed to any positive pools. This means that individual, diagnostic results are made available without collecting a second sample, without losing the days that process would involve, and without burdening any members of the pool with follow-up testing.
Our integrated COVID-19 response-management platform, JCMWorks, provides the capacity to gather, track, and transport samples to partner laboratories for analysis; highly secure and real-time reporting; and integrated, rapid contact tracing. JCMWorks is a secure, open-architecture system that exceeds both Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. JCMWorks is used to manage all stages of testing, from registration to results.
Our full service process involves:
Strategic and Operational Planning
Our service process begins with determining the testing needs of your school. Our research (see https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.20.20158436v1) has shown the size of optimal testing pools to range from 7–20 individuals, depending on a few factors. We work with your school’s leadership team to evaluate the structure of your campus (class composition, facility layout, etc.) and determine testing frequency, establish the number and location of testing sites, and define optimal testing groups.
The registration process begins with (1) pre-registering all individuals at your school and (2) assigning each individual to a testing group (note that testing groups can be changed at any time). Once groups have been defined, registration of individuals for each test event is a simple matter of uploading a spreadsheet into JCMWorks.
As individuals are registered, we will generate electronic registration cards which serve as a unique and private ID. Users can login to JCMWorks to access their registration card electronically; we optionally offer printed cards on safety lanyards.
Provision of Test Materials
We use the number of testing sites, individuals registered, and frequency of test events to generate orders for sample collection kits. We provide schools with extra materials to accommodate unanticipated testers and/or lost materials. You will receive periodic shipments so that you have sufficient materials to facilitate multiple testing sessions. Sample collection kits are not preassigned to individuals so that materials can be efficiently distributed to students, faculty, and staff at school.
JCMA uses only those collection methods that are fast, painless, and approved for home self-collection (typically shallow nasal swabs). Home collection reduces risk and preserves instructional time vs. site-based collection. Of course, young children require appropriate supervision when collecting a sample. For each collection event, you will distribute sample collection kits and instructions to students, faculty, and staff. Then, on collection day, individuals collect samples at home in the morning and bring them to school for check-in.
Our school partners are asked to designate a Collection Coordinator at collection site. JCMA will work directly with the Collection Coordinator to set up and configure kiosks (i.e., laptops with barcode scanners) running JCMWorks. During sample check-in, you may staff kiosks with school personnel; alternately, JCMA can arrange for trained medical personnel to manage kiosks. We train all kiosk supervisors—whether school employees or medical staff we arrange—in the sample collecting and check-in process, frequently encountered issues during sample collection, as well as training in using JCMWorks. Sample check-in is a simple, two-step process. First, the individual scans his/her registration card. Then, the kiosk supervisor confirms the individual’s identity and scans the sample. This entire process takes a matter of seconds and can be completed at school with minimal disruption.
JCMA schedules expedited shipment of samples to the lab following collection. Using a return kit and a set of instructions for shipping sample to the lab, Collection Coordinators package samples as directed. JCMA arranges for all shipments to be picked up by FedEx or courier and notifies the lab of expected shipments.
Analysis and Reporting
At the lab, samples are pooled for analysis. If a given pool is identified negative, all associated samples are presumed negative. If a given pool is identified positive, the lab reflexively examines individual samples and reports diagnostic results for each. This diagnostic testing can usually be completed within a few short hours of finding a positive pool.
JCMWorks maintains individuals’ complete anonymity during the pooled testing process. Individually identifiable information remains securely stored in JCMWorks and is shared with the lab only when required to conduct individual diagnostic testing and to conform with state and local health department reporting requirements.
Pool and any individual diagnostic test results are made available to clients in JCMWorks in real-time as the lab completes analysis. Results are available within 24-48 hours of lab receipt.
Test results are connected directly to our contact tracing workflows within JCMWorks. This means that as soon as test results are available, our contact tracers will connect with any individuals at your organization identified as positive, and guide them through the self-quarantining process, and begin the contact tracing process.
Traditional approaches to contact tracing have proven unsuited to meet the demands of the current pandemic. Instead, we have developed a contact tracing model capable of high efficiency and high volume. Our tracers work from our virtual call center—which utilizes a RingCentral VOIP product to perform one-click calls—while logged onto JCMWorks. The software continuously routes appropriate work to trained staff. The workflows are broken down into six main activities:
Our staff working each of these queues receive specific training and are guided by customized protocols. Our approach combines division of labor and automated workflow management to vastly increase the number of cases that can be contacted, and enables us to reach out to every individual from your organization within 24 hours of their induction into our system.
Our hybrid testing model using pooled and individual testing makes it possible for your organization to protect its students, staff, and faculty in a fiscally responsible manner.