Who needs a drug test? The simple answer: almost everyone. So for existing healthcare businesses, it makes perfect sense to implement a drug testing service so everyone can get their urine, blood, or saliva tested for potential drug abuse reliably and on the go. Unfortunately, many existing healthcare businesses ignore the perks of in-house drug testing altogether.
Below, we bring clarity to this topic and explore four concrete benefits of implementing drug testing to an already established business that offers similar services.
1. Promotes a Healthy, Drug-Free, Productive Society
Above all else, healthcare businesses bear an important responsibility to the community around them—that of making sure substance abuse is at an absolute minimum.
Although many facets of society are harmed by illicit drug use, it is particularly detrimental in the workplace. It goes without saying that the workplace is the fabric that holds any community together. Not only can substance use lower the productivity of a workplace (and the society as a whole), but it can also place employees at serious risk of addiction, abuse, and subsequent dip in productivity. In fact, according to The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), 70% of the 14.8 million Americans who use drugs are employed. These employees who use drugs contribute to about 40% of all industrial fatalities in the United States.
While at home drug test is reliable and convenient for most people, it's inherently prone to a few notable shortcomings. One of them is the heightened possibility of cheating compared to the screenings taken at a certified lab. In addition, at home tests don't always give the full, detailed results, something that might not bode well with an employer. Healthcare businesses come in handy in this regard, providing the kind of accuracy and credibility that's hard to achieve with at home drug testing.
Rapid drug tests for employees promote worksite safety and encourage a culture of reduced substance abuse. While most employees do not perceive healthcare businesses as testing facilities, most (if not all) of these centers do offer testing services, including basic urine and blood tests. This makes them, by default, a prime location for quick, convenient, on-the-go drug testing to be offered.
What makes health centers like urgent care facilities particularly viable for drug testing is their strategic location. That means they're accessible and easy to find. When people find out drug testing is available nearby and within walking distance, they'll be more likely to take drug tests, and frequently so. This plays to the overall goal of creating a healthier, safer, and more productive community (and workplace).
- Increased Business Turnover
For healthcare businesses that already offer drug testing, implementing a testing service as part of the main stack of offerings may prove to be a blessing in disguise—at least in terms of revenue.
It's common knowledge that the business of healthcare is unpredictable at best. There's no certain way to estimate how much income you can rake in in a day, month, and so on. One day, high-paying patients are streaming in in their numbers and paying the big bucks; the next day, you're staring at empty waiting rooms and blank registries. A drug testing service offers a great way to diversify your income and attain a consistent flow of non-emergent, urgent medical admissions.
Besides, drug testing services may be required in bulk rather than one person at a time. Today, it's becoming increasingly common for companies to commission urine or saliva drug tests for large groups of employees. This is especially the case when there's mass hiring, and the company needs to recruit drug-free personnel within a short period. When this happens, nearby healthcare centers that offer in-house drug testing stand to drive in a lot more business than those that don't.
Beyond that, there's also the probability of winning yourself a lifetime customer in the process. The more reliable and consistent your drug testing service, the greater the likelihood that one or more of your patients will seek out additional services in the future. Patients like sticking to one health center for all their medical needs, and they may even give your facility some much-needed free publicity. On days when your primary source of patients is failing, having regular drug testing patients will keep your revenue boat from sinking.
2. Increased Awareness and Visibility
Not all healthcare businesses are created the same. Some, like emergency care centers, often enjoy an influx of patients and are widely known in and around the nearby community. The same goes for primary care facilities; they're every person's go-to medical centers for the mere fact that they offer bas2. c checkups and treatment services. However, for businesses that offer urgent care services, visibility may be much harder to attain.
Urgent care forms a crucial part of today's healthcare ecosystem. It lies somewhere between emergency care and physical care and is, quite frankly, indispensable. Unfortunately, it isn't as popular as either of these two. Introducing drug testing to your service offering is crucial to bridging this gap and making the issue of unscheduled medical care more top-of-mind. The more aware people are about urgent care centers, the more likely they're to take their medical needs seriously.
If your business falls under urgent care, implementing a drug testing service should be a top priority—not an afterthought. As of now, drug testing remains a tried-and-tested way to bring in a steady flow of customers, especially the employed folks. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 71% of worksites with more than 1,000 employees conduct drug tests, and 42% test for alcohol misuse. As a way of increasing awareness and visibility, it might be prudent to offer discounted drug testing rates to local employers. Then when people get to know and trust your facility, you can readjust the pricing accordingly. While this strategy may not pay off immediately, its long-term perks will undoubtedly be worth it.
3. Facilitates Swift Diversification of Non-Core Offerings
Historically, many healthcare organizations relied on incremental improvements or organic changes to fuel growth. Future growth, however, could be accelerated with a greater focus on non-core areas of healthcare, as a recent McKinsey report found out.
Drug testing is, in and of itself, a none-core segment of healthcare. However, what gives it an edge over other non-core components is its urgent and repetitive nature. That means if you implement a drug testing service right now, you stand to reap quick and repetitive revenue benefits that might spill over to the future.
In addition, diversification is incredibly attractive to investors. People like to invest where they see value, and drug testing is one of those fields where value is never-ending and recurring.
How to Get Started With a Drug Testing Service
Implementing a drug testing service for your healthcare business is simpler than it sounds. Acquaint yourself with these fundamentals, and you'll be ready to go:
1. Familiarize yourself with federal requirements
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has developed an excellent standard for drug testing that is spelled out in 49 CFR Part 40. Give it a thorough read. Since most of the customers you'll be serving will be employees, it's important to go through this standard first so you know how it'll apply to your program. If they're other applicable state or federal laws, acquaint yourself with those too.
2. Train your staff
Your drug testing service won't take off without proper training of the requisite staff. Make sure they all have a clear understanding of how a substance abuse testing program works. Remember the DOT standard we mentioned in Step 1? Ensure they have a proper grasp on it, too, to avoid any testing inconsistencies and inaccuracies down the road.
3. Get to know local employers' testing needs.
A drug testing service created in a vacuum simply won't succeed. You need to reach out to local employers beforehand and enquire whether or not they'd use your clinic for rapid drug tests. If the answer is in the affirmative, go ahead and confirm what type of drug and alcohol tests will be needed.
Ideally, employers in your locality will contract your healthcare center for one (or many) of these drug testing services:
Urine drug test: This type of screening is conducted on an employee's urine as part of pre-employment screening, randomly, or post-accident by employers. Currently, urine drug testing is the only federal-approved testing method for workplaces in the U.S. That said, urine drug testing is particularly effective since it can quickly identify if an individual has recently used an illegal substance within the past couple of days.
Saliva drug test: Also known as mouth swab test, saliva testing detects banned substances in an employee's system by examining their saliva. Its relatively short detection period gives it an edge over other methods on this list.
Hair testing: Since hair testing has a wide detection window (typically 90 days), it's regarded by many as the best indicator of repeat drug use.
Evidential breath alcohol testing: This method is viable for people looking for an instant drug test. Unlike other drug testing methods, alcohol tests can only reveal current levels of intoxication or impairment.
4. Lay Out a Lab Contract
At its core, a lab contract spells out the contractual requirements between healthcare facilities and local or national laboratories. Thankfully, most healthcare centers (especially those that already offer testing-related services) have existing lab contracts. So once you've notified local employers and trained your team on the basics of drug testing, reach out to a representative of a SAMHSA-certified lab right away. From there, the lab will send over all the necessary drug testing supplies.
5. Set Aside a Testing Area
Even with a big-enough clinic, you still need to designate an entire wing for sample collection and ongoing drug testing. That means you'll have to secure a few of your restrooms and perhaps a private room for this purpose. The methods and requirements needed to make this exercise a success will be covered in the relevant training course(s) you and your medical team will undergo to become qualified.
Other than the basic drug testing supplies SAMHSA will send over, you'll still need a few more to make your testing area fully-fledged. These supplies may include (but are not limited to):
- Evidential Breath Testing Devices
- Tamper-evident tape
- Toilet hats
- Alcohol Testing Forms (ATF)
- Rapid Drug Testing Cups/Kits
6. Set Up a Pricing Model
Once you've procured all the necessary supplies, it's time to put a price on your new drug testing service. Again, it's a good idea to offer a discounted price for first-time customers and employers. That way, you're encouraging them to be repeat clients that might even refer your service to other prospective customers.
While at it, let the local community know that your new service is available and well-equipped to handle all of their needs. As for repeat and consistent businesses, set up long-term contracts. Also look out for high-paying drug testing jobs that might be offered via local purchasing boards. Large corporations and local governments pay big money to have their employees tested for drugs, so it makes sense to keep an eye on these boards.
Drug testing is a lucrative area for existing healthcare businesses that are willing to invest in it. However, only those businesses that are diligent, consistent, and patient enough will reap the full benefits of this service offering.