ECRI Finds Significant Gaps in Ease of Use for At-Home COVID Tests
Usability testing by leading patient safety organization finds significant differences in ease of use for seven popular at-home COVID antigen tests
January 10, 2022
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA—As the consumer demand for COVID-19 rapid tests increased due to the spread of the omicron variant, the nation’s largest non-profit patient safety organization evaluated seven COVID-19 rapid tests and found serious gaps in their usability. According to experts at ECRI, none of the tests were rated as excellent and some had noteworthy usability concerns.
ECRI analyzed seven popular COVID-19 rapid tests based on the well-established System Usability Scale (SUS), which rates products on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being the easiest to use. More than 30 points separated the top and bottom tests analyzed.
“Our evaluation shows that some rapid tests are much easier to use than others,” says Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and CEO of ECRI. “If given options, consumers should choose tests that are the easiest to use because when a test is difficult for a consumer to use, it may lead to an inaccurate result.”
The tests evaluated and their ratings on the SUS scale are:
1. On/Go: Very Good (82.9)
2. CareStart: Very Good (80.8)
3. Flowflex: Very Good (79.5)
4. QuickVue: Good (75.6)
5. BinaxNOW: Good (73.3)
6. InteliSwab: Good (73.3)
7. BD Veritor: Okay (51.8)
ECRI analysts said some tests require particularly fine motor control or have instructions with extremely small font size that may make it difficult for older adults and others with complex health conditions to use the tests correctly. Often, these groups are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and face more severe complications.
Given demand and supply issues, Schabacker said consumers may not be able to choose their rapid test and may have to rely on whatever is available to them. In that case, they should be aware of the specific usability concerns for that test so that they can try to mitigate any factors that may lead to an inaccurate result.
More information about the evaluation of each test can be found at www.ecri.org. For further questions, contact ECRI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-825-6000.
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ECRI is an independent, nonprofit organization improving the safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of care across all healthcare settings. With a focus on patient safety, evidence-based medicine, and health technology decision solutions, ECRI is respected and trusted by healthcare leaders and agencies worldwide. Over the past fifty years, ECRI has built its reputation on integrity and disciplined rigor, with an unwavering commitment to independence and strict conflict-of-interest rules.
ECRI is the only organization worldwide to conduct independent medical device evaluations, with labs located in North America and Asia Pacific. ECRI is designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices PSO is a federally certified Patient Safety Organization as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) formally became an ECRI Affiliate in 2020.
Visit www.ecri.org and follow @ECRI_Org.
For more information, contact:
Laurie Menyo, Director of Strategic Communications
610.825.6000 ext. 5310