PCR testing systems Abbott vs. Cepheid

We are looking into ordering a PCR testing system to run point of care tests in our office for SARS-CoV-2. We are deciding between the Abbott ID Now and the Cepheid Xpert Xpress. Does anyone use either system now and have any pros and cons based on their experience?

In the same boat. Have heard abbott idnow has high number of false negatives.

We are deciding between the exact 2 companies. Leaning towards Cepheid because they will have a combo RSV/FLU/COVID test out soon. Any input from others is appreciated!!

Cost analysis for the combo PCR screening and EDC for the new baby’s arrival??

We’ve been using the ID Now for about a year for flu/strep testing. We love the ease of use and the quick resulting. We, too, are investigating using it for COVID testing this season as it will only require a software update of the analyzer, not a new machine. I am hoping to get information about reimbursement for 87530. Has anyone been using the ID Now system for Covid and successfully been paid yet?

We just had this same conversation today. we have the ID now which we used for flu and strep. BCBS and 1199 didn’t cover the rapid tests so we are concerned about what they will do for COVID.

We are looking at Cepheid because of what we’ve heard about it being more accurate but the machine is very expensive.

I’ve heard Sept-Oct 2020. They have not published cost yet but I’ve heard in the $45 ballpark.

We are on the same boat an still waiting on Cepheid product demo. Does anyone in the forum know its cost?

We are also looking- at both of those as well as BD Viator and Sophia antigen tests. Any cost information on any system???or experience with billing???

How expensive?

The Quidel rep just told me on Friday (7/17) that the machines are not currently available because HHS has requisitioned all available machines. She thinks maybe by September. Has anyone else heard this?

yes that i true. Thats what my rep said

WE have heard the same thing…Trying to make a decision. Hopefully we can get this up and running before September.

We have been looking at the Sofia and the BD Veritor as we were told that the other machines will not be available until September/October at the earliest since we are not high on their list.

Quidel was requiring a commitment of100 flu test per year for 3 years to order the Sofia analyzer but they have increased that minimum to 500/year for 3 years. At the moment they are reportedly not approving any outright purchases for the machine. The price per test is around $23 per test (https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/06/17/covid-test-cost). However, since we got all of that information, HHS purchased a large amount of analyzers so they are now predicting that they won’t be able to get analyzers to offices like ours until September at the earliest.

BD Veritor reportedly has the opposite problem where they have analyzers in stock ready to ship, but they are still ramping up their testing production. They do not require any contracts and will allow you to purchase their machine outright or buy a kit with flu tests and get the analyzer for free. Their cost per test is more expensive and is around $35 per test and will bill with the same CPT code. The sensitivity is also a little lower (84% for Veritor vs 87.5% with Sofia). HHS also signed a contract with them, but according to our rep there will be less of an impact to offices since they have plenty of analyzers in stock.

It is my understanding that any negative results with Sofia and BD Veritor have to be confirmed with a molecular test. Is this what you are hearing?


We use the Abbott ID now and the resulting is much faster than the Cepheid (15 min versus 45 minutes for influenza for an example). The price was much better as well. False negatives were found to be due to sites using media transport when it was not recommended. We have been using these machines since last fall with better reimbursement and result time. We are expecting COVID capacity beginning of September.

We went with the Veritor Plus.

Pros: No commitment other than 2 flu kits per instrument, we had the unit and COVID tests in one week from order (not sure what the expected delivery time is now).

Cons: It’s not molecular, non-definitive negatives, higher cost per covid test compared to some other options mentioned.

Do you prefer to purchase? Similiar to ID Now the rep was providing our machines.

We had the same concerns. We were looking at both and decided on ID NOW. The rep explained the false negatives were related to 2 issues: 1) the incorrect transport media was used and 2) the amount of time that elapsed (40+ days) when they were testing pts (that initially tested positive). My docs are pretty conservative, so if they are ok with it, certainly I am.

Our rep said negatives on the Sofia needed to be verified with a PCR. Quest just announced PCR results are taking a week or more.