You Can Now Record Your COVID-19 Rapid Test Results. Here’s How To Do It

A hand holding a rapid diagnostic test kit for Covid-19 over a Mac keyboard

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Key Takeaways

  • MakeMyTestCount is a new website from the National Institutes of Health that allows individuals to record the results of COVID-19 antigen tests taken at home.
  • This site adds to the information that public health departments have about the spread of COVID-19, which previously relied only on data from PCR tests.
  • The site is easy to use and keeps your data anonymous.

Let’s hear it for the return of free rapid tests. At-home COVID tests make it easy for people to know their COVID status in real time, and to know if they should stay home and isolate. One drawback, however, is that rapid test results haven’t historically contributed to the national COVID case count; only PCR tests processed by labs do that. As a result, the United States is always underreporting its COVID cases.

From a public health perspective, is a rapid test really helpful as it could be if you’re the only one who knows its result?

A new website from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is finally allowing people in the United States to anonymously report their rapid test results. Sharing your results on the site, called, bolsters the information public health departments have about whether or not the COVID is spreading.

“COVID-19 testing remains an essential tool as the United States heads into the holiday season and people navigate respiratory viruses,” Bruce Tromberg, PhD director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which supported the development of the new test site, told Verywell in a statement. “While taking a rapid COVID-19 test has become commonplace, test results are not often reported. COVID-19 test results provide valuable data that public health departments can use to assess the needs and modify the responses in the local community, the state, or the nation.”

How to Report Your Rapid Test Result

Great news: You won’t have to install another app to report your test results.

“MakeMyTestCount was launched to provide the public with a safe, secure, quick and easy means of reporting any over-the-counter test result, without having to install a manufacturer-specific app,” Andrew Weitz, PhD, a program director at NIBIB and co-leader of the MakeMyTestCount program, told Verywell.

To report your test your result on, start by clicking either “Positive” or “Negative" on the homepage. From there, you’ll be prompted to answer a few more general questions, including which brand of test you took, when you took the test, your age, and your zip code.

There are no questions about your name or street address, though optional personal information questions will be added in January. 

If you choose to, you can answer questions about race, ethnicity, and the sex you were assigned at birth.

How Your Data Will Be Used

When the information you input is sent to the NIH’s database, it is “de-identified,” meaning it’s stripped of any computer code that could identify you or your personal information. That data is sent to the same public health systems that currently receive COVID-19 test results from laboratories and doctors’ offices.

In addition, that data may be shared with other public health researchers.

“Any data that is shared outside the program will be anonymous and not tied to any information that identifies you individually,” Tromberg said.

According to Weitz, other uses for rapid test result information are still being explored.

“The CDC and state/local public health agencies are exploring ways to leverage these data for public health purposes,” he said. “Self-reported test results represent a brand-new data type that has not been traditionally used in public health. It will take some time to understand the limitations of these data and how to use them most effectively.”

How useful this data will be depends on how many people upload their results, which is still a big unknown, said Leana Wen, MD, a research professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

“We won’t know what percentage of test results are logged and whether people are more likely to document positive than negative results,” Wen told Verywell. She believes a better way to use the site would be to keep it specific to certain cohorts, like asking employers or schools who require testing to document the results, especially in tandem with events.

“That way, at least there is a clear denominator in terms of how many total tests are done,” she said.

What Else to Expect

In the coming months, the NIBIB plans to add several features to that will make more of an impact on the individual level. According to Krishna Juluru, MD, Presidential Innovation Fellow at NIBIB, this includes:

  • The ability to track your results over time
  • The option to receive a SMART Health Card (a QR code containing clinical information) to more easily share test results with a healthcare provider
  • Information to connect with any test-to-treat programs in your area

Is It too Late?

Public health experts who are not part of the NIBIB and weren’t involved with the creation of the new website applaud its ease of use. But three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a way to report rapid test results feels belated.

“The NIH website is trying to partially fill in a major blind spot regarding the number of active COVID-19 cases,” Stephen Kissler, PhD, a research fellow in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Verywell. He said he likes that it only collects the most important information, allows users to opt out of certain questions, and only requires a few clicks.

But he still doesn’t think many people will use it.

“This platform arrived far too late, and with too little fanfare,” Kissler said. “By now, people have already gotten into a testing habit. If this were available and encouraged from early in the pandemic, I think we might have had some real success in getting people to use it to report their tests. As it stands, though, I have trouble believing that many people will use it.”

What This Means For You

COVID-19 continues to circulate in the U.S. and around the world. Testing when you have symptoms, staying home if you test positive, and talking to your healthcare provider about treatment if you are at risk of severe disease all help to make you and your community safer. Recording your results on can help improve the information that public health departments have to act quickly if the disease is spreading.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

By Fran Kritz
Fran Kritz is a freelance healthcare reporter with a focus on consumer health and health policy. She is a former staff writer for Forbes Magazine and U.S. News and World Report.