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Exploring the barriers and facilitators to use of point of care tests in family medicine clinics in the United States.

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Thompson, Matthew 
Alto, William 
Keppel, Gina A 
Hornecker, Jaime 


BACKGROUND: Point-of-care tests (POCTs) are increasingly used in family medicine clinics in the United States. While the diagnostics industry predicts significant growth in the number and scope of POCTs deployed, little is known about clinic-level attitudes towards implementation of these tests. We aimed to explore attitudes of primary care providers, laboratory and clinic administrative/support staff to identify barriers and facilitators to use of POCTs in family medicine. METHODS: Seven focus groups and four semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 52 clinic staff from three family medicine clinics in two US states. Qualitative data from this exploratory study was analyzed using the constant comparison method. RESULTS: Five themes were identified which included the impact of POCTs on clinical decision-making; perceived inaccuracy of POCTs; impact of POCTs on staff and workflow; perceived patient experience and patient-provider relationship, and issues related to cost, regulation and quality control. Overall, there were mixed attitudes towards use of POCTs. Participants believed the added data provided by POCT may facilitate prompt clinical management, diagnostic certainty and patient-provider communication. Perceived barriers included inaccuracy of POCT, shortage of clinic staff to support more testing, and uncertainty about their cost-effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS: The potential benefits of using POCTs in family medicine clinics are countered by several barriers. Clinical utility of many POCTs will depend on the extent to which these barriers are addressed. Engagement between clinical researchers, industry, health insurers and the primary care community is important to ensure that POCTs align with clinic and patient needs.



Family medicine, Infections, Near patient testing, Point-of-care tests, Administrative Personnel, Adult, Aged, Ambulatory Care Facilities, Attitude of Health Personnel, Clinical Decision-Making, Family Practice, Female, Focus Groups, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Laboratory Personnel, Male, Middle Aged, Physicians, Point-of-Care Systems, Qualitative Research, Quality Control, United States, Workflow

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BMC Fam Pract

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC