The Home Sputum Collection Project
is now closed.

We would like to thank our partners, NTMiR and National Jewish Health as well as the program supporter, Insmed.

COPD Foundation

The goals of the program are listed below.

The pilot program was designed to demonstrate that:

  • Patients are able to provide sputum samples in the home setting.
  • We can improve timelines of results and provide access to increased species identification and drug susceptibility testing.
  • Home sputum collection provides a safe and accessible alternative to producing sputum in the laboratory setting.

The Challenge

Currently, an estimated 180,000 people in the U.S. suffer from NTM lung disease with the number of infections increasing by around 8% each year1. Unfortunately, many patients with NTM report years between the onset of their symptoms and diagnosis2. Our goal was to try to close this gap by tackling common challenges that patients and physicians face with traditional sputum collection methods.

Our Strategy

Because many laboratories do not possess the special assays necessary to identify NTM subspecies, this pilot program used a full-service mycobacteriology laboratory equipped with these assays at National Jewish Health in Denver to ensure accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment for NTM lung disease.

With our home collection process, patients did not have to travel to provide a sputum sample. Instead, they followed this simple process:

  • The prescriber completed a brief survey to ensure that they are eligible to participate.
  • The prescriber then requested a home sputum collection kit for their patient.
  • A home collection kit was mailed directly to the patient from the laboratory. The patient was asked to follow the instructions on their kit in order to collect a good sputum sample (how to collect sputum at home).
  • Once the patient was able to collect a quality sputum sample, they mailed their specimen directly to the laboratory at National Jewish Health using the pre-paid label included within their kit.
  • When results were available, they were sent directly from the laboratory to the prescriber.

There was no cost to the patient and no insurance billing for the duration of the pilot.

Further questions? Call our Bronchiectasis and NTM Information Line at 1-833-411-LUNG (5864) or email us at

Works Cited

  1. Strollo, S. E., Adjemian, J., Adjemian, M. K., & Prevots, D. R. (2015, October). The Burden of Pulmonary Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Disease in the United States. Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015, October 15). The Voice of The Patient - U.S. Food and Drug Administration.