Objectives: There are numerous point-of-care tests (POCTs) available on the market, but many of these are not used. This study reviewed literature pertaining to the evaluation/usage of POCTs in primary care, to investigate whether outcomes being reported reflect aspects previously demonstrated to be important for general practitioners (GPs) in the decision to implement a POCT in practice.
Methods: Scopus and Medline were searched to identify studies that evaluated a POCT in primary care. We identified abstracts and full-texts consisting of applied studies (eg trials, simulations, observational studies) and qualitative studies (eg interviews, surveys). Data were extracted from the included studies, such as the type of study, the extent to which manufacturers were involved in the study, and the biomarker/assay measured by the test(s). Studies were evaluated to summarise the extent to which they reported on, amongst others, clinical utility, user-friendliness, turnaround-time and technical performance (aspects previously identified as important).
Results: The initial search resulted in 1398 publications, of which 125 met the inclusion criteria. From these studies, 83 POCTs across several disease areas (including cardiovascular disease, venous thromboembolism and respiratory-tract-infections) were identified. There was an inconsistency between what is reported in the studies and what GPs consider important. GPs perceive clinical utility as the most important aspect, yet this was rarely included explicitly in test evaluations in the literature, with only 8% of evaluations incorporating it in their analysis/discussion.
Conclusions: This review showed that, despite the growing market and development of new POCTs, studies evaluating such tests fail to report on aspects that GPs find important. To ensure that an evaluation of a POCT is useful to primary care clinicians, future evaluations should not only focus on the technical performance aspects of a test, but also report on the aspects relating to the clinical utility and risks.