Patients who undergo point-of-care testing at a general practice are as, or more, likely to comply with their medication regimes as patients who undergo testing at a pathology laboratory, according to the results of a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Professor Justin Beilby, Executive Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and his co-authors conducted a study involving patients with established type 1 or 2 diabetes, established hyperlipidaemia, or requiring anticoagulant therapy, who were enrolled in 53 urban, rural and remote general practices in three States.
AdvertisementAn intervention group of 2585 patients had pathology tests for glycated haemoglobin, urine albumin, albumin-creatinine ratio, blood lipids, or international normalised ratio, performed using point-of-care (PoCT) devices at their general practice.
A control group of 1796 patients had samples tested by their usual pathology laboratories.
"Follow-up questionnaires indicated that adherence to medication regimes was higher in the intervention group (39.3 per cent) than in the control group (37 per cent)," Prof Beilby said.
"Although the difference in medication adherence between the two groups was not large, even small improvements can be beneficial, given that low adherence to medications compromises the effectiveness of treatment, at considerable cost to patients and the health care system.
"Patients in the intervention group reported that their relationship with their GP had strengthened, that having immediate test results was beneficial, and that they were more motivated to look after themselves, which is evidenced by their adherence to medication.
"Point-of-care-testing provides GPs with virtually instantaneous test results for treatment decisions and also removes an important barrier to adherence by offering patients the convenience of a single visit."