The Use of Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test in the Emergency Department as a Decision-Support Tool

Lilac Meltzer, Sharon Amit, Mayan Gilboa, Ilana Tal, Bella Mechnik, Avi Irony, Hindi Engelrad, Avi Epstein, Yael Frenkel-Nir, Yuval Levy, Yitshak Kreiss, Gili Regev-Yochay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergency department (ED) is the initial point of contact between hospital staff and patients potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2, thus, prevention of inadvertent exposure to other patients is a top priority. We aimed to assess whether the introduction of antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) to the ED affected the likelihood of unwanted SARS-CoV-2 exposures. In this retrospective single-center study, we compared the rate of unwarranted exposure of uninfected adult ED patients to SARS-CoV-2 during two separate research periods; one before Ag-RDTs were introduced, and one with Ag-RDT used as a decision-support tool. The introduction of Ag-RDTs to the ED significantly decreased the relative risk of SARS-CoV-2-negative patients being incorrectly assigned to the COVID-19 designated site (“red ED”), by 97%. There was no increase in the risk of SARS-CoV-2-positive patients incorrectly assigned to the COVID-19-free site (“green ED”). In addition, duration of ED admission was reduced in both the red and the green ED. Therefore, implementing the Ag-RDT-based triage protocol proved beneficial in preventing potential COVID-19 nosocomial transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number284
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


FundersFunder number
Sheba Medical Center


    • COVID-19
    • SARS-CoV-19
    • antigen
    • decision-making
    • emergency department
    • rapid tests
    • triage
    • triage protocol


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