Why test study protocol: a UK-wide audit using the primary care academic collaborative to explore the reasons for primary care testing.
Burrell A., Duncan P., Bennett-Britton I., Hodgson S., Merriel SWD., Waqar S., Whiting P., Watson J., Primary Care Academic Collaborative (PACT) None.
BACKGROUND: The number of blood tests done in primary care has been increasing over the last 20 years. Some estimates suggest that up to a quarter of these tests may not have been needed. This could lead to a cascade effect of further investigations, appointments, or referrals, as well as anxiety for patients, increased workload and costs to the health service. To better understand the impact and sequelae of blood tests on patients, we need to know why blood tests are requested and what is done with the results. AIMS: To explore who orders blood tests and why, and how test results are actioned in primary care. DESIGN & SETTING: Retrospective audit of electronic health records in general practices across the UK. METHOD: The Primary care Academic CollaboraTive (PACT), a UK-wide network of primary care health professionals, will be utilised to collect data from individual practices. PACT members will be asked to review the electronic health records of 50 patients who had recent blood tests in their practice, and manually extract anonymised data on who requested the test, the indication, the result, and subsequent actions. Data will also be collected from PACT members to assess the feasibility of the collaborative model. CONCLUSION: PACT offers a unique opportunity to extract clinical data which cannot otherwise be obtained. Understanding the indications for tests will help identify priority areas for research to optimise testing and patient safety in primary care.