Effect of Point of care testing for Influenza on AntiMicrobial Stewardship in primary care in the UK.
To report the impact of point of care testing for influenza and RSV on antibiotic and antiviral prescribing in primary care.
We will produce a study protocol manuscript before the start of the study outline our aims, objectives and methods. This is due to be published in the summer of 2023 pending peer review.
This study will generate data on the impact of POCT testing for influenza in primary care as well as help to inform about the feasibility of incorporating POCT into primary care workflows.
For the 2022/23 flu season, we will test new ways of identifying people with flu who come to see their GP. This includes taking nasopharyngeal swabs of those with flu-like symptoms and performing rapid tests at the practice, rather than sending the swab to a laboratory. These tests are known as “point-of-care tests”.
Influenza (flu) is a virus that can cause illness and death. Treatments need to be given within 24 to 48 hours from the onset of symptoms to be most effective. Recently, tests that can diagnose flu very fast and accurately have become available.
The study will take place between Dec 2022 and May 2023. We will recruit up to ten general practices in England will take part in the study. All patients in these practices will be eligible to take part should they present to their general practice with influenza-like illness or fever higher than 37.5 °C. Consented patients will have nasopharyngeal swabs taken by a GP or nurse. The swab will be tested for flu viruses in the practice using a POCT machine. This will produce a result in under 60 minutes and will be made available to the patient’s GP.
How does this research try to address the problem?
Our aim is to report the feasibility of undertaking point of care testing for respiratory viruses in primary care and the impact that POCT has on antibiotic and antiviral prescribing in general practice. We will additionally describe severe outcomes of infection (hospitalisation and mortality) and how POCT is integrated into primary care workflow.
How we are planning to implement the research outputs
Data regarding the utility of the influenza POCT in primary care and the issues and barriers to implementation of influenza POCT in primary care workflows will be collected during this study from clinicians/practice staff at the participating practices. This will include information previously found to be important to implementation of POCT testing:
• Usability of the POCT platform
• Clinical pathways and training
• Result reporting
• Clinical governance
• Monitoring of effectiveness
Subsequently we aim to work with device manufacturers, NHS commissioners and patient groups to understand the issues and barriers to implementation of influenza POCT in primary care.
How were patient and the public involved
The Royal College of General Practitioners, from which this study draws its participating GP practices, involves patients in its clinical and research forums. The Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre is currently developing regular patient involvement as a standard practice.
Project end date