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© © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. Objectives To summarise the literature regarding the use of point-of-care test (POCT) in pharmacies versus control/usual care. Design and setting Systematic review and random-effects meta-analysis in community pharmacy. Data sources MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, and Web of Science databases were searched. Eligibility criteria Articles were included if they: involved a POCT conducted by a community pharmacist, member of pharmacy staff or local equivalent; measured a clinically relevant outcome for example, clinical parameter monitoring. No clinical condition or language limits were set. Patient and public involvement No patient involvement. Data extraction and synthesis Data were independently extracted by two members of the review team to capture changes in clinical care that resulted from the use of the POCTs. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed, using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Results Thirteen of the 1584 articles found were included in the meta-analyses. Studies covered four therapeutic areas: targeted anti-malarial therapy (n=3 studies), glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in diabetes (n=2 studies), lipid control (n=3 studies) and international normalised ratio (INR) control in patients taking warfarin (n=5 studies). POCT in pharmacies reduced the risk of receiving antimalarial treatment when not clinically indicated (risk ratio 0.34, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.37). Lipid and HbA1c control appeared largely unaffected by pharmacy POCTs, and the impact on INR time-in-therapeutic-range was inconclusive. Conclusions Only 4 out of 13 included studies used a gold-standard randomised controlled trial (RCT) design, limiting our ability to conclusively determine the clinical utility of POCT conducted in pharmacies. Further RCTs are needed, particularly in areas such as upper respiratory tract infections, which have gathered momentum among service commissioners in recent years. PROSPERO registration number CRD42017048578.

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Journal article


BMJ Open

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