Point-of-care testing in primary care: needs and attitudes of Irish GPs

Laima Varzgaliene*, Adrienne Heerey, charlie Cox, Tomas McGuinness, Genevieve McGuire, Jochen Cals, Eamonn O'Shea, Maureen Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Studies outside of Ireland have demonstrated that GPs believe point-of-care tests (POCTs) are useful and would like to have more of these tests available in daily practice. This study establishes the views of Irish GPs on this topic for the first time and also explores GPs’ perceptions of barriers to having POCT devices in primary care.

: To establish Irish GPs’ perception of the benefits and barriers to POCT use.

Design & setting
: A quantitative cross-sectional observational survey of Irish GPs attending continuing medical educational meetings (CME) in November 2015.

: Data was collected using an anonymous and confidential questionnaire.
Results: Out of a total of 250, 70% of GPs (n = 143) completed the questionnaire. Of these, 92% (n = 132) indicated they would like to have access to POCTs. Guidance in decision making 43% (n = 61), reduced referral rates 29% (n = 42), and diagnosis assistance 13% (n = 18) were the main benefits expressed. Cost 45% (n = 64) and time 34% (n = 48) were the main barriers identified.

: This study proved that Irish GPs would also like increased access to POCTs. They feel that these tests would benefit patient care. Unsurprisingly, cost and time were two barriers identified to using POCT devices, which supports outcomes from studies. Radical changes would be required in primary care to facilitate implementation of POCTs and attention must be paid to how the costs of POCTs will be funded. This study may act as a prompt for future international research to further explore this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this