Kroger Health, Gauss Partner for Smartphone COVID-19 Tests

The at-home test, from Gauss, is the first that requires no lab equipment.

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Need to Know

  • Kroger will offer the first smartphone-enabled, at-home COVID-19 testing kits to US patients across the country.
  • The Gauss COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit requires no laboratory equipment, telemedicine visits, or specialized equipment.
  • The test uses a nasal swab and rapid antigen test. Using AI-based tech, an app then provides patients with their result in seconds.
  • Gauss has the capability to produce up to 30 million tests per month; Kroger plans to make the kits available at all of its 2,200 US pharmacies.

Analysis

Kroger will be the first US pharmacy to offer smartphone-enabled at-home COVID-19 testing, in partnership with healthcare company Gauss.

The Gauss COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit, which is currently awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval, will become the first rapid COVID-19 test that can be done using only a smartphone and what is known as a lateral flow test (an at-home pregnancy test is the same type of test), without the need of a laboratory, a telemedicine consultation, or any specialized devices. Gauss has already 1.5 million tests; the company can produce up to 30 million tests per month.

“Public health leaders agree that people need access to on-demand, reliable, rapid testing in their own homes, and that’s exactly what our test delivers,” said Siddarth Satish, founder and CEO of Gauss. “As a trusted resource for COVID-19 related solutions with a broad national footprint, Kroger Health is an ideal partner to dramatically expand access for millions of Americans through our smartphone-powered, at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test.”

Kroger plans to make the Gauss tests available at all of its 2,200 US locations once the test receives approval. Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, said making the test is part of Kroger’s ongoing commitment to “helping people live healthier lives by offering a variety of COVID-19 testing solutions supported by our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained and experienced healthcare providers.” 

“We’re proud to partner with Gauss to expand our COVIDCare+ suite with the forthcoming launch of this affordable, innovative solution,” she continued.

Customers who purchase the test are provided step-by-step video instructions in an app, which tells them how to collect a nasal swab and complete the rapid antigen test. After 15 minutes, the app alerts the user to scan their rapid test. Using AI-based tech, the app then provides patients with their results in seconds and shares the results with public health agencies (this is a legal requirement). Kroger already offers over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests that require being sent to a laboratory for results, and in-clinic COVID-19 testing at all of its in-store health clinics.

Kroger has been implementing a number of new technological and digital tools, as contactless shopping and online shopping spiked in popularity due to COVID-19. In August, the pharmacy expanded its third-party marketplace with Ship, planning to add an additional 50,000 items to its online store before the end of 2020. The pharmacy chain has also partnered with Whisk for online recipe-ordering, allowing users to order items they need to make a specific dish for pick-up or delivery from Kroger stores, and piloted smart scan-and-go shopping carts called “KroGo,” which let users shop and check out from a Kroger store without the need to interact with a cashier.

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