Objective: To determine the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) and patients to near-patient testing (NPT) for serum cholesterol level, the appropriateness of NPT, and cost compared with testing in a specialist pathology laboratory. Design: A descriptive survey of registered Category 5 general practices in Victoria, 1994. Matched questionnaires were completed by GPs providing NPT and patients being tested. Participants: 13 GPs performing NPT and 206 patients having NPT. Results: Thirteen of the 17 Victorian Category 5-accredited practices participated in this study (77%), and 203 of the 260 GP questionnaires and 206 of the 260 patient questionnaires were returned. NPT of serum cholesterol level was found to be appropriately used by GPs, and recommended management guidelines for lowering cholesterol level were followed. Both GPs and patients strongly supported the role of NPT in general practice on the basis of convenience, issues of patient care, quality, efficiency and cost, but GPs felt the registration and quality assurance fees were unreasonably high. We identified potential cost savings for patients and the Health Insurance Commission with NPT of cholesterol level by GPs compared with testing at specialist pathology laboratories. Conclusions: NPT appears to be of benefit to both GPs and patients and to provide cost savings. However, the registration charges and quality assurance fees for NPT laboratories may be limiting GPs' use of NPT.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jun 1998|
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