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AHS launches automated notification options for COVID-19 test results

September 30, 2020
Pharmacists may not need to contact patients directly if test results are negative.

Alberta Health Services has recently enhanced their automated processes for informing Albertans about COVID-19 test results. Albertans who are tested for COVID-19 at participating pharmacies can choose to be informed about their COVID-19 test results through either

  • an automated call,
  • an automated text, or
  • a personal phone call from AHS.

Pharmacists can also advise patients who are registered with MyHealth Records that they can directly access their results through this portal.

Pharmacists who order COVID-19 tests for patients, have a responsibility to interpret the results as per Standard 16 of the Standards of Practice Laboratory and Point-of-Care Testing. Further to this, Standard 17 requires the following:

A pharmacist who interprets a laboratory test or conducts a POCT must

  1. advise the patient if the test is meant for diagnostic or screening purposes,
  2. advise the patient of the results, and
  3. take appropriate action based on the results of the test.

ACP Council has determined that the above-mentioned methods of contact can be relied upon as meeting the requirements of Standard 17 only when the COVID-19 test results are negative. In such cases, dependent on the pharmacist’s professional judgement, no further contact with the patient is required by the pharmacist.

When a positive COVID-19 test result is identified, the pharmacist is still expected to directly contact the patient to advise them about the result and take appropriate action, including ensuring the patent is referred to the appropriate care.