A closer look: specimen validity testing

At Quest Diagnostics, quality is one of our highest values. This is why when you visit one of our Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers, or any of our in-network collection sites, you will find that our employees take great precautions when it comes to the specimen collection process. To prevent any tampering, our collectors are highly trained and educated on the strict guidelines we set in place. However, we do not stop there. With the use of specimen validity testing (SVT), once a specimen arrives at our laboratory, we help ensure the integrity of each test.

Non-regulated vs regulated: For non-regulated urine specimens, our labs automatically screen for abnormal pH, creatinine, and specific gravity levels. While regulated urine specimens undergo the same 3 tests, they also benefit from screening for oxidizing adulterants during the SVT process.

Why use SVT? For federally regulated drug testing or workplace drug-testing programs that follow federal guidelines, all 4 processes of specimen validity testing are a must. These processes help to differentiate normal physical and/or chemical composition from those that are abnormal. Ultimately, this technology helps our labs to detect common methods of cheating or tampering that may or may not include the use of substances and chemicals mentioned here.

What is the SVT process? During the screening procedure, a urine specimen will be tested for the 4 components of specimen validity testing: oxidizing adulterants, pH, creatinine, and specific gravity (when indicated). If the specimen has abnormal creatinine levels, our lab will perform a specific gravity test. The specimen is also screened for abnormal pH levels and if it is a regulated urine specimen, for oxidizing adulterants as well. If any of these processes are found to be abnormal, the specimen will result as diluted, adulterated, or invalid. However, this is not the end of the road for the specimen: a second round of testing is done to re-confirm the initial results. Once confirmed, the client’s Medical Review Officer (MRO), or client themselves, can opt for more sensitive, extended screening with TestSureTM.

What is TestSure? TestSure includes the 4 primary components of SVT, but then goes one step further. In addition to measuring pH, oxidizing adulterants, creatinine, and specific gravity (when indicated), TestSure provides testing for definitive identification of specific oxidizing adulterants and an alternative screening method for invalid results. Clients that incorporate TestSure into their urine drug screen panels have the option of sending abnormal specimens for further testing. Upon request, additional testing may identify the specific (oxidizing) adulterant present in the donor’s urine specimen.

With specimen validity testing, Quest Diagnostics takes extra steps in ensuring accurate drug test results. For an extra layer of assurance, consider including TestSure in your urine drug screen panels.

Contact your Quest Diagnostics representative for more information about TestSure.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website.