How to Realize the Benefits of Point-of-Care Testing at the General Practice: A Comparison of Four High-Income Countries
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonInternational Journal of Health Policy and Management. 2021 10.34172/ijhpm.2021.143
Background In some countries, such as the Netherlands and Norway, point-of-care testing (POCT) is more widely implemented in general practice compared to countries such as England and Australia. To comprehend what is necessary to realize the benefits of POCT, regarding its integration in primary care, it would be beneficial to have an overview of the structure of healthcare operations and the transactions between stakeholders (also referred to as value networks). The aim of this paper is to identify the current value networks in place applying to POCT implementation at general practices in England, Australia, Norway and the Netherlands and to compare these networks in terms of seven previously published factors that support the successful implementation, sustainability and scale-up of innovations. Methods The value networks were described based on formal guidelines and standards published by the respective governments, organizational bodies and affiliates. The value network of each country was validated by at least two relevant stakeholders from the respective country. Results The analysis revealed that the biggest challenge for countries with low POCT uptake was the lack of effective communication between the several organizations involved with POCT as well as the high workload for general practitioners (GPs) aiming to implement POCT. It is observed that countries with a single national authority responsible for POCT have a better uptake as they can govern the task of POCT roll-out and management and reduce the workload for GPs by assisting with set-up, quality control, training and support. Conclusion Setting up a single national authority may be an effective step towards realizing the full benefits of POCT. Although it is possible for day-to-day operations to fall under the responsibility of the GP, this is only feasible if support and guidance are readily available to ensure that the workload associated with POCT is limited and as low as possible.