The newly launched Navica app gives you the option of COVID-19 testing at home and provides you with a coveted digital health pass.
It’s no surprise to anyone worldwide that COVID-19 has changed how we travel, work, and manage our health.
Whether you’re needing a negative test for re-entry into the U.S. or are required to test negative before returning to work, take advantage of this convenient way to test at home and digitally receive your results within minutes.
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What is eMed and how do you get started with their home-based COVID-19 testing kit?
eMed is a telehealth company that has created an innovative, digital point-of-care platform to provide at-home healthcare services. They recently partnered with multiple airlines, such as United, to offer U.S. citizens the option of a home-based COVID-19 testing kit.
A large part of their website is geared towards helping international travelers meet re-entry requirements, but their tests are also available for other reasons. Anyone can purchase a testing kit.
Even if you aren’t traveling, perhaps your work requires a negative test to return to the office. Other organizations, such as concert venues and sporting events, may require attendees to provide a negative test, regardless of vaccination status.
With the additional stress of securing a test while traveling, eMed give you peace of mind knowing that all testing is supervised and proctored by eMed’s Certified Guides who will walk you through the entire process online.
As of August 2021, eMed, and their partner app, Navica, provide the only CDC-accepted, home-based COVID-19 testing kit for international travel.
Here’s how you start if using the test for travel:
- Book your flights (assuming you are returning to the U.S.)
- Order the COVID-19 Antigen rapid tests from eMed’s website
- Receive tests shipped to your U.S. address (or find local pick-up location)
- Create a digital health pass account and download the Navica app
- Pack two tests per person in your carry-on luggage
This first step is very important. You must download the app and create a digital health pass account BEFORE your board your international flight to leave the country.
You can download the app for free, and it is compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices. Once downloaded, simply enter in some basic information to create an account.
To begin your test:
- Set aside some time a maximum of three days before you return to the U.S.
- Start your session by visiting emed.com and selecting “START TEST”
- Wait in the queue until you are prompted by an online guide to self-administer your nasal swab
- Receive your test result in the Navica app
- Scan the QR code of your encrypted digital pass to board your flight
Navigating around the app itself is extremely simple. Along the bottom, you’ll find a few tabs that provide you with your results in various forms.
To access your time-sensitive and encrypted digital health pass with QR code for scanning, click on “Pass”.
To share or print a PDF version of your negative test result, click on “Results”.
- Simple and easy to use
- Cost-effective at $25 a test
- No waiting in line at a public testing site
- Digital results sent to mobile phone via app and email
- Results come at 20 minutes or less
- Accepted (and partners with) several major airlines (United, American, and Delta to date)
What are the drawbacks?
- To the same point, this kit is only currently contracted with several airlines (uncertain if test is accepted by their partner airlines)
- Two plus hours of waiting needed from start to finish
- Good internet connection needed
- Only valid for re-entry to the U.S. (can’t be used to enter a foreign country)
Additional thoughts and tips
While traveling to Italy in August 2021, I utilized eMed and the Navica app to get my negative COVID-19 test before returning to the U.S. The testing kits don’t take up much space in your luggage, and the app is simple to set up and use.
I found the proctored test to be very structured and easy to follow. You’ll be on a video chat with a certified guide. They will be able to see you (in order to verify you are completing the nasal swab correctly), but you will only be able to hear (and not see) them.
Even though the time from completing the nasal swab to getting my test results took a mere 20-25 minutes, waiting in the queue to be paired with a proctor took about an hour and a half to two hours!
The nice thing about this is you can set it and forget it. Choose an evening when you are back lounging in your hotel. Get in the queue, and just watch a movie or answer emails while you wait.
As someone who has also stood in line at a public testing site, I spent about two and a half hours of my time from start to finish.
So, the waiting time is similar whether you do the COVID-19 testing at home or in public. I still think that being able to wait while you watch a movie is better than standing out on a busy street to get the same result.