"It's not a time spent issue, it's a 'what have you spent your time doing?' issue…" A qualitative study of UK patient opinions and expectations for implementation of Point of Care Tests for sexually transmitted infections and antimicrobial resistance.
Fuller SS., Pacho A., Broad CE., Nori AV., Harding-Esch EM., Sadiq ST.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to be a major public health concern in the United Kingdom (UK). Epidemiological models have shown that narrowing the time between STI diagnosis and treatment may reduce the population burden of infection, and rapid, accurate point-of-care tests (POCTs) have potential for increasing correct treatment and mitigating the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We developed the Precise social science programme to incorporate clinician and patient opinions on potential designs and implementation of new POCTs for multiple STIs and AMR detection. We conducted qualitative research, consisting of informal interviews with clinicians and semi-structured in-depth interviews with patients, in six sexual health clinics in the UK. Interviews with clinicians focused on how the new POCTs would likely be implemented into clinical care; these new clinical pathways were then posed to patients in in-depth interviews. Patient interviews showed acceptability of POCTs, however, willingness to wait in clinic for test results depended on the context of patients' sexual healthcare seeking. Patients reporting frequent healthcare visits often based their expectations and opinions of services and POCTs on previous visits. Patients' suggestions for implementation of POCTs included provision of information on service changes and targeting tests to patients concerned they are infected. Our data suggests that patients may accept new POCT pathways if they are given information on these changes prior to attending services and to consider implementing POCTs among patients who are anxious about their infection status and/or who are experiencing symptoms.