WHAT IS THE TECHNOLOGY?
Point of care tests are diagnostic tests that are conducted during consultations in the CLIA-waived labs in primary care clinics. Several of these are widely used, such as strep tests for streptococcal sore throat, or dipstick urine tests for bladder infections. The growth in the in vitro diagnostics industry for point of care tests is growing faster than other types of laboratory testing. However, implementation of point of care tests varies widely in primary care clinics, and we know little about what is limiting implementation of this new technology.
- Why are some tests are used and others are not?
- What barriers do clinics face with implementing point of care tests?
- What would help facilitate more tests being used?
- What information can we feed back from the “frontline” of clinics, to the developers and makers of point of care tests?
These fundamental questions have never been answered in the US, despite the potential size of the market. In this project, we aim to identify the barriers and facilitators to the use of point of care tests in family medicine clinics in the WWAMI region, using interviews and focus groups with practitioners, clinic lab staff and clinic leaders.
WHAT IS THE TECHNOLOGY’S POTENTIAL IMPACT ON PRIMARY CARE?
This is the first study that has explored the barriers and facilitators to using point of care tests in the substantial primary care market. Initial findings suggest significant potential benefits that clinics themselves see, such as improved clinic efficiency, enhanced clinical decision making, improved patient satisfaction. Providers also identified several “high priority” tests they would like to see added to their current tests. We also identified several potential barriers that need to be addressed in order to improve test use, such as concerns about perceived inferior accuracy, limited staffing to run tests, complexity of reimbursement, and integration with electronic health records.