What Does Point-of-Collection Test Mean?
A point-of-collection test (POCT) is a viable drug testing method available to employers where an applicant and/or employee provides a urine specimen via a POCT device such as an immunoassay strip or cup to confirm a negative or non-negative (positive) test result. A variety of POCT-based urine drug panels exist to identify the presence of drug metabolites including amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, methadone, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP).
WorkplaceTesting Explains Point-of-Collection Test
While POCT drug testing is a quick, efficient measure to expedite the hiring process and/or reinstate employees to previous positions, a negative test result or non-negative result can require further analysis at a laboratory. A technician employs gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), sophisticated equipment designed to target and quantify residual drug metabolites corresponding to the original findings in the POCT as conclusive evidence. Although many employers administer POCT panels to bypass conventional laboratory testing procedures, a non-negative (positive) test outcome can be a clear indicator of an adulterated or tampered specimen.
Because POCT collection kits can produce erroneous results, non-negatives require closer scrutiny followed by official clearance from a medical review officer (MRO). Many employers are given the opportunity to determine whether an applicant and/or employee is fit for a job position following a negative test result reading. Employers use POCT at their own discretion, evaluating and interpreting test results as a cost-effective measure against the designated time frame of a 24-72 hour turnaround via laboratory analysis. However, the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) suggests that urine specimens require GC-MS examination in the way of mounting evidence of liability issues surrounding POCT test results.
Because false negatives remain a common problem in routine drug screens, DATIA proponents contend that POCT is questionable in its merits to deliver accurate and reliable test results. For this reason, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prohibits POCT where government and transportation positions are strictly regulated. The issue of employers favoring POCT-based negative test results against increasing liability claims is an oversight that requires laboratory confirmation to avoid discrepancies.