Perceived Barriers to COVID-19 Testing

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Feb 25;18(5):2278. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18052278.


(1) Background: Prior studies have documented that access to testing has not been equitable across all communities in the US, with less testing availability and lower testing rates documented in rural counties and lower income communities. However, there is limited understanding of the perceived barriers to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing. The purpose of this study was to document the perceived barriers to COVID-19 testing. (2) Methods: Arkansas residents were recruited using a volunteer research participant registry. Participants were asked an open-ended question regarding their perceived barriers to testing. A qualitative descriptive analytical approach was used. (3) Results: Overall, 1221 people responded to the open-ended question. The primary barriers to testing described by participants were confusion and uncertainty regarding testing guidelines and where to go for testing, lack of accessible testing locations, perceptions that the nasal swab method was too painful, and long wait times for testing results. (4) Conclusions: This study documents participant reported barriers to COVID-19 testing. Through the use of a qualitative descriptive method, participants were able to discuss their concerns in their own words. This work provides important insights that can help public health leaders and healthcare providers with understanding and mitigating barriers to COVID-19 testing.

Keywords: COVID-19 testing; barriers to testing; qualitative; research registry.

MeSH terms

  • Arkansas
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 Testing*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population
  • Uncertainty