C-reactive protein point-of-care testing for lower respiratory tract infections: a qualitative evaluation of experiences by GPs
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OBJECTIVES: To explore GPs' attitudes to and experiences of introducing C-reactive protein (CRP) point-of-care testing (POCT) for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in primary care. METHODS: Semi-structured interview study with 20 GPs who participated in the IMPAC(3)T randomized trial evaluating the effect of GP use of CRP POCT on management of LRTI. Main outcomes were GPs' experiences and views about CRP POCT in general practice, including its role in guiding antibiotic prescribing decisions and applicability and implementation in daily practice. RESULTS: GPs expressed mainly positive attitudes. Test results were rapidly available to support diagnostic and therapeutic processes for LRTI and other common infections, enhancing patient and GP confidence in prescribing decisions and empowering GPs to prescribe antibiotics less often. GPs were concerned about responding to ambiguous test results. They regarded financial reimbursement for using the test as essential for successful uptake. CONCLUSIONS: GPs were generally positive about CRP POCT, and they felt that it empowered them to safely prescribe fewer antibiotics for LRTI without alienating their patients. Successful wider implementation should address reimbursement and updating management guidelines to include the place of CRP POCT.
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