Point-of-care testing in UK primary care: a survey to establish clinical needs.
Turner PJ., Van den Bruel A., Jones CHD., Plüddemann A., Heneghan C., Thompson MJ., Price CP., Howick J.
BACKGROUND: A number of point-of-care diagnostic tests are commercially available in the UK, however, not much is known regarding GPs' desire for these tests or the clinical areas of interest. OBJECTIVE: We sought to establish for which conditions point-of-care tests (POCTs) would be most helpful to UK GPs for diagnosis, reduction of referrals, and monitoring of chronic conditions. METHODS: A total of 1635 regionally representative GPs were invited to complete an online cross-sectional survey between 31 September and 16 October 2012. RESULTS: A total of 1109 (68%) GPs responded to the survey. The most frequently cited conditions were urinary tract infections for diagnosis (47% of respondents), pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis for referral reduction (47%) and international normalized ratio/anticoagulation for monitoring (49%). CONCLUSIONS: This survey has identified the conditions for which UK GPs would find POCTs most helpful. Comments by respondents suggest that quite radical system-level adjustments will be required to allow primary care clinicians to capitalize on the potential benefits of POCTs.