Use of a Digital Assistant to Report COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Self-test Results to Health Departments in 6 US Communities

JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Aug 1;5(8):e2228885. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.28885.


Importance: Widespread distribution of rapid antigen tests is integral to the US strategy to address COVID-19; however, it is estimated that few rapid antigen test results are reported to local departments of health.

Objective: To characterize how often individuals in 6 communities throughout the United States used a digital assistant to log rapid antigen test results and report them to their local departments of health.

Design, setting, and participants: This prospective cohort study is based on anonymously collected data from the beneficiaries of the Say Yes! Covid Test program, which distributed more than 3 000 000 rapid antigen tests at no cost to residents of 6 communities (Louisville, Kentucky; Indianapolis, Indiana; Fulton County, Georgia; O'ahu, Hawaii; Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan; and Chattanooga, Tennessee) between April and October 2021. A descriptive evaluation of beneficiary use of a digital assistant for logging and reporting their rapid antigen test results was performed.

Interventions: Widespread community distribution of rapid antigen tests.

Main outcomes and measures: Number and proportion of tests logged and reported to the local department of health through the digital assistant.

Results: A total of 313 000 test kits were distributed, including 178 785 test kits that were ordered using the digital assistant. Among all distributed kits, 14 398 households (4.6%) used the digital assistant, but beneficiaries reported three-quarters of their rapid antigen test results to their state public health departments (30 965 tests reported of 41 465 total test results [75.0%]). The reporting behavior varied by community and was significantly higher among communities that were incentivized for reporting test results vs those that were not incentivized or partially incentivized (90.5% [95% CI, 89.9%-91.2%] vs 70.5%; [95% CI, 70.0%-71.0%]). In all communities, positive tests were less frequently reported than negative tests (60.4% [95% CI, 58.1%-62.8%] vs 75.5% [95% CI, 75.1%-76.0%]).

Conclusions and relevance: These results suggest that application-based reporting with incentives may be associated with increased reporting of rapid tests for COVID-19. However, increasing the adoption of the digital assistant may be a critical first step.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Data Collection
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self-Testing
  • United States