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Quick Test vs. Lab Test Drug Screening

Is a quick test sufficient? We get this question quite often. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so simple due to the variance in company protocols. I & O Medical Centers offers several types of drug screens for your company including:

  • 5-panel quick tests
  • 10-panel quick tests
  • Urine sample collections
  • Hair follicle collections
  • Urine sample lab testing
  • Hair follicle lab testing

Each has advantages and disadvantages; however, this article will focus on the quick testing urine samples versus urine sample lab testing.

Quick testing is the process of providing a specific amount of urine to allow the administrator to simply dip the test card into the urine. I & O Medical Centers offers either a 5-panel or a 10-panel quick test. A 5-panel option includes detection of Amphetamine, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine, Marijuana. The 10-panel option detects the above listed as well as Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Propoxyphene, Methaqualone.

Results are read and interpreted after 5 minutes. Quick testing drug screens produce either a negative or non-negative result. Although they can be 99% accurate, they still aren’t able to officially determine a positive result.

Lab testing requires a specific amount of urine to be provided like the quick tests. The urine is collected then sent to a lab for screening. The biggest difference between lab testing and quick testing is the amount of time it takes to administer a result. Lab testing urine can take 24-72 hours for an official result. However, lab testing will provide the 100% positive result an employer may need.

Quick testing is instant and can allow an employer to make a decision about an employee right away. This is commonly used to decide whether to hire a potential candidate or not. In some cases, a quick test is administered to determine whether or not an employee can enter a jobsite that day. Quick testing is cost effective and fast! Every employer’s dream. However, quick testing will not stand in court if an employer terminates an employee due to a non-negative result since it is 99% accurate. To combat a court case, the lab testing will stand since it is 100% accurate. Although lab testing takes longer and is more expensive, it can save your company thousands of dollars in the long run (If a court case is required). Lab testing is also required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) due to the guaranteed positive or negative result.

Most companies may find quick testing to be sufficient per their company protocol, but it is important to know that they aren’t 100% accurate. I & O Medical Centers can provide split screening, which is a great way to protect a company needing drug testing. Split screening is the process of
collecting the urine sample and administering the quick test along with sending the other half of the collection to the lab for testing. Refer to your company’s protocol to see what is best for your organization. If you have questions regarding drug testing, please contact our client service representatives.

5 thoughts on “Quick Test vs. Lab Test Drug Screening

  1. Thank you for pointing out that lab testing will allow for a 100% positive result. This seems like a great reason to make sure you are drug screening through a lab. Hopefully, any employer needing to drug test someone looks into finding the best drug testing lab possible.

  2. If your on Oxy and you have a Urine test every month at your pain clinic and it comes back positive for Oxy as it should. Why would they send it off to the lab also?

  3. I did urine drug test was positive for marijuana but when I did 5 panel drug screen hair test up to 6 months timeframe was negative. So where is the problem and what I can do.

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