Aims: To assess the acceptability of and satisfaction with near patient testing for glycated haemoglobin in primary care in patients and health professionals.
Methods: A questionnaire survey and qualitative study were nested within a randomized controlled trial conducted in eight general practices in Leicester-shire, UK. Satisfaction with diabetes care was compared in the intervention group (near patient test) and in the control subjects (usual laboratory test), using the Diabetes Clinic Satisfaction Questionnaire. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of patients and healthcare professionals and analysed using thematic coding and framework charting.
Results: Questionnaire data for 344 patients were analysed and interviews were conducted with 15 patients and 11 health professionals. Interviews indicated that the near patient test was highly acceptable to patients and staff and confirmed that there may be potential benefits such as time saving, reduced anxiety and impact on patient management and job satisfaction. However, both the survey and the interviews identified high pre-existing levels of satisfaction with diabetes care in both intervention and control group patients and survey results failed to confirm increased patient satisfaction as a result of rapid testing. Limited patient understanding of glycated haemoglobin testing was noted.
Conclusions: We were unable to confirm actual rather than potential advantages of the near patient test. Widespread adoption in primary care cannot be recommended without further evidence of benefit.