Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

Archive July 2020 XXI, No. 7

Ideas That Work: Assembly Line

Make Your Own COVID-19 Testing Kits

Allegheny Health Network
NOT ALONE Staff volunteers at Allegheny Health Network found strength in each other while facing the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak.

When it became clear there was a severe shortage of COVID-19 testing kits in our area, we decided to build our own with a team of volunteers at our newly opened outpatient surgery center.

Each kit consisted of a swab, a 10 or 15 milliliter test tube to hold the swab sample, the chemical solution that preserves the sample until it can be tested at a lab, two biohazard bags, labels for the tube and testing instructions. You can read a more detailed account of the process we used to make the in-house COVID-19 testing kits here:

Allegheny Health Network
RAW MATERIALS AHN staff assembled more than 176,000 test kits from scratch.

After we determined we could make the kits, the hard part was keeping up with the demand. We started with 14 volunteers from different departments within our organization. Nurses, physicians, techs, administrators and even staff from the data analytics department teamed up to assemble the kits by hand and place the materials into one biohazard bag at a time.

Before long, word spread and more staff volunteered to help out. When we were at our peak, the entire group operated like a well-oiled machine. In the end, we created more than 176,000 test kits from scratch.

Karen Maloney, MSN, RN, CASC
Korie Enscoe, MSN, RN
Allegheny Health Network
Pittsburgh, Pa.

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