Every good drug testing program should have a Medical Review Officer, or MRO, in place. An MRO is the physician who reviews drug test results for drug testing companies, and they are a very important part of the drug screening process. A regular doctor isn’t able to do this specialized job—only a trained and licensed MRO can perform these duties.
But what exactly does an MRO do that a regular doctor doesn’t? This is a common question from companies who seek out a drug compliance program.
MROs are Highly Qualified and Know All Regulations
MRO services begin when a lab sends a drug test that has come out positive to an MRO. It’s then up to the MRO to determine if the drugs that have been confirmed in the individual’s system are necessary or legal for them to have taken (such as opiates for pain).
Because MROs are physicians who have comprehensively studied laboratory testing, they are experts on hair follicle analysis, breath and urine tests, and alternative medicine explanations. They are the most qualified professionals that can determine drug screening results, and they are also fully aware of all federal regulations regarding drug testing.
How Do MROs Determine if Drugs are Legit?
An MRO is extensively trained in the field of substance abuse, and can therefore can determine if a positive drug test was tampered with, created a false positive, or is indeed the result of an individual’s substance abuse. They are able to know this through not only discussion with the employee/applicant, but also through their deep understanding of medical knowledge and learned explanations for specific drug test results. For example, drug screenings can often be incorrect due to other medications or foods. MROs know all of these details and this is one of the most important parts of MRO services, which is why they are so critical to the drug screening process.
See more about how drug tests can result in false positives here:
As mentioned, individuals are given a chance to explain the drugs found in their system through a discussion with the MRO. The individual is given the opportunity to explain the drugs to the MRO, and the MRO will listen to what the person says in order to further determine if the confirmed drugs are legitimate.
If the MRO deems the drugs legal and necessary, they will give the employee/applicant a negative test result. If the drugs can’t be explained, however, the MRO will give the person a positive, and will inform the employer of this news.
MROs Help Protect Companies
When companies use MRO services, they are protecting themselves from messy situations with employees and applicants; they are presenting themselves as more professional and serious, and they are also ensuring that the process is being done properly, without mistakes. Since drug screenings have such a huge outcome on the lives of employees and applicants, there should be no room for mistakes to be made. An MRO will ensure that this doesn’t happen.
An MRO automatically gives an “official” element to a company. Their entire job is based on knowledge and evaluation, and having them determine drug test results gives integrity and credibility to any drug testing company. Companies which don’t use MROs will seem suspicious and unprofessional.
Using an MRO also keeps the company out of the equation should a dramatic issue arise. If an employee or applicant claims that their drug screening is inaccurate, an employer won’t need to be dragged into it, if an MRO is helping. There will be no complicated situations in which an employee would be forced to share their personal medical info, and sticky situations will stay much cleaner.
It’s crucial for DOT industries to remain compliant in order to be drug-free and ensure the safety of the public. At New Era Drug Testing, we take our responsibility very seriously. To learn more about our DOT compliance services and programs, please contact us.