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Currently submitted to: JMIR Public Health and Surveillance

Date Submitted: Nov 5, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Nov 5, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Testing, Testing: What SARS-CoV-2 testing services do adults in the United States actually want? A discrete choice experiment.

  • Rebecca Zimba; 
  • Sarah Kulkarni; 
  • Amanda Berry; 
  • William You; 
  • Chloe Mirzayi; 
  • Drew Westmoreland; 
  • Angela Parcesepe; 
  • Levi Waldron; 
  • Madhura Rane; 
  • Shivani Kocchar; 
  • McKaylee Robertson; 
  • Andrew Maroko; 
  • Christian Grov; 
  • Denis Nash



Ascertaining preferences for SARS-CoV-2 testing and incorporating findings into the design and implementation of strategies for delivering testing services may enhance testing uptake and engagement, a prerequisite to reducing onward transmission.


To determine important drivers of decisions to obtain a SARS-CoV-2 test in the context of increasing community transmission.


We used a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to assess preferences for SARS-CoV-2 test type, specimen type, testing venue, and results turnaround time. 4,793 participants from the U.S. national longitudinal CHASING COVID Cohort Study completed our online survey July 30 – September 8, 2020. We estimated relative importance of testing method attributes and part-worth utilities of attribute levels, and simulated the uptake of an optimized testing scenario relative to the current typical testing scenario of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) via nasopharyngeal (NP) swab in a provider’s office or urgent care clinic with results in >5 days.


Test result turnaround time had the highest relative importance (30.4%), followed by test type (28.3%), specimen type (26.2%), and venue (15.0%). In simulations, immediate or same day test results, both PCR and serology, or oral specimens substantially increased testing uptake over the current typical testing option. Simulated uptake of a hypothetical testing scenario of PCR and serology via a saliva sample at a pharmacy with same day results was 97.7%, compared to 0.6% for the current typical testing scenario, with 1.8% opting for no test.


Testing strategies that offer both PCR and serology with non-invasive methods and rapid turnaround time would likely have the most uptake and engagement among residents in communities with increasing community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Please cite as:

Zimba R, Kulkarni S, Berry A, You W, Mirzayi C, Westmoreland D, Parcesepe A, Waldron L, Rane M, Kocchar S, Robertson M, Maroko A, Grov C, Nash D

Testing, Testing: What SARS-CoV-2 testing services do adults in the United States actually want? A discrete choice experiment.

JMIR Preprints. 05/11/2020:25546

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.25546


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