Point-of-care testing in UK primary care: a survey to establish clinical needs

Fam Pract. 2016 Aug;33(4):388-94. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmw018. Epub 2016 Apr 5.


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.

Keywords: Cross-sectional studies; diagnostic tests; general practitioners; point-of-care; primary health care; surveys and questionnaires..

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • International Normalized Ratio
  • Male
  • Point-of-Care Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom