New to drug testing: Laboratory tour

Week #2Image of Lab

With two weeks under my belt, I’m starting to feel at home in my new role at Quest Diagnostics. Orientation, training, HR documentation, and introductions are all complete and I feel like I’ve absorbed a tremendous quantity of knowledge in a short period of time. One of the folks who taught me a lot is Mark Haworth. Mark is a Certifying Scientist and he was kind enough to take me on a tour of our facility.

Prior to starting work here, I’d driven by the building hundreds of times, but until this week I had no idea how big and complex this operation truly is. At our laboratory here in Lenexa, Kansas we perform close to 20,000 drug tests every day. The process begins when a specimen (urine, oral fluid or hair) is received at the lab. It’s removed from the packaging and tagged with a barcode both for chain of custody tracking purposes and so that the donor’s information remains anonymous and objective throughout the testing process.

Once the specimen has been tagged, it is processed through the initial screening. If the test is negative, the results are typically sent to the client. However, if the initial screen is non-negative, the specimen is sent to a different area of the lab where a scientist performs a confirmation test to double-check the result. If the specimen is confirmed to be non-negative, the results are typically released to a Medical Review Officer who reviews the information and then provides the final determination to the client. Non-negative results are then stored in a freezer for a year. This storage allows for future testing if needed.

If you’re interested in learning more about the laboratory, take a few minutes and watch a virtual laboratory tour. It’s not quite the same as seeing it first hand, but it’s a start. It’s also worth noting that we host client and prospect lab tours on a regular basis. Our sales, account management and customer service reps can help to initiate that process if you’re interested.

As a new employee at Quest Diagnostics, there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about the world of drug testing. Like some of you, I have a lot to learn about the industry. During my first year of employment, I’m going to write this weekly column highlighting drug testing procedures, products and processes as I discover them. To learn more about my journey, you can read my introductory post.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website.