Research concerning point of care testing (POCT) in primary care finds that the total expected cost of using POCT to deliver an NHS Health Check in primary care is lower than the laboratory-led pathway. It also minimises DNA rates and only requires one visit from the patient.
Objective: To determine if use of point of care testing (POCT) is less costly than laboratory testing to the National Health Service (NHS) in delivering the NHS Health Check (NHSHC) programme in the primary care setting.
Design: Observational study and theoretical mathematical model with microcosting approach.
Setting: We collected data on NHSHC delivered at nine general practices (seven using POCT; two not using POCT).
Participants: We recruited nine general practices offering NHSHC and a pathology services laboratory in the same area.
Methods: We conducted mathematical modelling with permutations in the following fields: provider type (healthcare assistant or nurse), type of test performed (total cholesterol with either lab fasting glucose or HbA1c), cost of consumables and variable uptake rates, including rate of non-response to invite letter and rate of missed [did not attend (DNA)] appointments. We calculated total expected cost (TEC) per 100 invites, number of NHSHC conducted per 100 invites and costs for completed NHSHC for laboratory and POCT-based pathways. A univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analysis was conducted to account for uncertainty in the input parameters.
Main outcome measures: We collected data on cost, volume and type of pathology services performed at seven general practices using POCT and a pathology services laboratory. We collected data on response to the NHSHC invitation letter and DNA rates from two general practices.
Results: TEC of using POCT to deliver a routine NHSHC is lower than the laboratory-led pathway with savings of £29 per 100 invited patients up the point of cardiovascular disease risk score presentation. Use of POCT can deliver NHSHC in one sitting, whereas the laboratory pathway offers patients several opportunities to DNA appointment.
Conclusions: TEC of using POCT to deliver an NHSHC in the primary care setting is lower than the laboratory-led pathway. Using POCT minimises DNA rates associated with laboratory testing and enables completion of NHSHC in one sitting.
Full reference: Does use of point-of-care testing improving cost-effectiveness of the NHS Health Check programme in the primary care setting? A cost-minimisation analysis