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How Having an Option for a Custom Drug Testing Panel Benefits Medical Offices

Custom Drug Testing Panels

Medical offices are always looking for ways to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their drug testing procedures. Medical offices can ensure that only relevant substances are targeted by having a custom drug testing panel. This, in some cases, leads to increased accuracy in results. This could also save money by not having to pay for tests that are not necessary. Furthermore, it could also reduce the turnaround time for results. 

Overall, having a custom drug testing panel is an excellent way for medical offices to improve their drug screening process. Tailoring the panels specifically for each client’s needs increases accuracy while cost savings are sometimes achieved. Plus, by following guidelines consistently across all tests conducted with this technology, medical offices can reduce complexity and increase efficiency in their workflows.

The Importance of Drug Testing

Positive workplace drug tests have continued to rise in 2022. In fact, the number of positive drug tests increased by 4.6% in 2021 compared to 4.4% the previous year. This overall figure is more than 30% higher than the historic low of 3.5% in their 2010-2012 analysis.

With fewer available workers looking for work, some employers are opting out of marijuana testing, random testing,  pre-employment testing, or all drug testing in order to attract prospective applicants who would not have met their threshold in the past. However, positive marijuana drug tests are on the rise, with a more than 50% increase in the general US workforce over a 5-year period. (1)

With this said, the number of workers in the workforce abusing drugs may not be as well documented going forward. As one starts a job clean but then relapses or picks up a new habit, this can lead to the person’s drug use not being detected. This can have an overall negative impact on the workforce as a whole.  

While Marijuana is becoming legal in many states, it is something employers are considering and looking at dropping from their drug panel. A custom drug panel would allow for this and could save time and money. But is that really a good idea for the business?

Why Marijuana Testing is Important

As Marijuana is being legalized everywhere, we are seeing that some customers are looking to drop this from their drug panels. This is an effort to be able to keep and gain new employees. It is no doubt that companies are struggling to find qualified help. However, is it a good idea to drop testing for Marijuana? Let’s take a look at this issue a little deeper.

The first and most obvious benefit of discontinuing marijuana testing is financial. Fewer tests must imply lower costs, right? This may appear to be a logical assumption from the outside. In reality, it’s simply not true. Dropping Marijuana from a drug testing panel requires employers to make special requests for laboratories and medical review officers to conduct testing while ignoring marijuana results OR switch to a modified panel that costs the same or more than a standard panel that includes Marijuana. In either case, an employer pays the same amount as before, if not more. However, if a medical facility would be more open to custom drug testing, this cost may actually be saved in the end. If this is something that a regular client would like to do, then wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the medical office to cater to this client’s needs?  

Customizing Drug Testing to Exclude Marijuana

Another typical issue we hear when employers are contemplating taking Marijuana off their drug tests is the legal standpoint. However, to assume that employers have no right to inquire about their employees’ marijuana use because it is “legal”. We test for alcohol use all the time. That’s legal too. Just because an activity or substance is “legal” doesn’t mean it’s safe or that an employer should ignore it. In addition, Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. (2) Most states that have legalized Marijuana continue to allow and encourage workplace drug testing.

Another advantage of legalizing Marijuana is that employers do not have to keep up with the constant changes and updates to the policy. Although this is true, the cost of policy reviews and updates is typically insignificant. In contrast, the cost of increased workers’ compensation claims can be ten times the cost to an employer for a single claim. In terms of legal liability, a properly worded and strong policy will not prevent employees from filing frivolous lawsuits against you. Still, it will save you money on litigation. It will also save you the risk of respondent superior cases and negligent hiring claims. All of this can add up to a significant amount.

While these are some valid points, some employers are choosing to forego marijuana testing on their employees, which the laboratories need to oblige. With customized drug testing options, medical facilities can embrace these patients and help their employers only test for the drugs that they are interested in.

How To Set Up A Custom Drug Testing Panel

Medical offices are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency and performance. One way they can do this is by setting up a custom drug testing panel. A custom drug testing panel is a collection of tests specifically designed to identify specific drugs or drug metabolites in the body. This can be highly beneficial for medical offices. This is because it allows them to test for drugs often missed by off-the-shelf drug tests.

Work With A Trusted Toxicology Expert

Keystone Laboratories, a CAP-accredited North Carolina licensed laboratory and CLIA-licensed lab, is committed to helping you make important decisions that impact the safety and health of your patients with greater confidence. Clients in 48 states can get prescription drug and substance abuse recovery monitoring, specialized testing, workplace drug testing, screening, and program management services from Keystone. Contact Keystone Laboratories today to receive the industry-leading laboratory testing services!

Drug Testing Panel
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