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For Primary Care Providers

Point of Care Testing for
Respiratory Illness in Primary Care:

Point of care testing (POCT) is the medical diagnostic testing performed outside of traditional laboratory settings, usually at the bedside or in a physician's office that provides rapid results that can inform immediate clinical decision making. POCT has increasingly become a valuable tool for family physicians in primary care settings, providing timely and accurate test results that can guide the management of patients’ health conditions.


In Fall 2021, 19 to Zero embarked on a POCT testing pilot in Alberta that was designed to understand the value of POCT in primary care, the experiences of clinic teams in implementing POCT and the experience of patients receiving testing and confirmation of their diagnosis during their primary care visit. The goal of this pilot was to help understand the clinical utility of POCT in primary care practices and to identify how to best incorporate testing processes into primary care team workflow

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"Offering point of care testing in our clinic has increased the satisfaction patients have with their office visits. Patients really like having a confirmed diagnosis."

- Primary Care Nurse

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“These point of care tests are good, if you know which patients to test.  Strep tests in particular can definitely improve patient outcomes.” 

- Rural Primary Care Physician

19 to Zero worked with one urban and one rural primary care practice in Alberta from Fall 2021 to Fall 2023 to pilot the use of three primary care relevant point of care tests with interested patients:

  • A combined SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza A/B assay

  • A Strep A assay

  • A RSV assay

Clinic teams participated in collaborative planning meetings to identify how to best incorporate the new point of care testing processes into their clinic workflows. This planning included mapping out the patient journey through the clinic, identifying which patients would be offered point of care tests based on presenting symptoms, who would administer the tests and communicate the results. Each clinic completed patient and provider surveys to understand the impact of point of care testing on healthcare service provision and patient experience.

Some themes from our evaluation included:

Patient themes:

Patients found point of care testing convenient to have done during their primary care visit.

Patients felt receiving a confirmed diagnosis during their visit gave them more confidence in their ability to manage their symptoms

Provider themes:

Providers felt the testing process was intuitive and easy to administer

Providers indicated offering point of care testing lead to improved patient experience and satisfaction with care

Confirming a diagnosis supported clinical decision making such as prescription of antibiotics or recommendations regarding self-isolation

Resources to Support Implementation of Point of Care Testing in Primary Care

Thank you to our sponsor BD for their support with this Primary Care point of care testing pilot.

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