Scaling up sexually transmissible infections point-of-care testing in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: healthcare workers' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators
Shephard, M. D.,
Scaling up sexually transmissible infections point-of-care testing in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: healthcare workers' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators.
Implementation Science Communications, 2, 127.
Sexually transmissible infections (STIs), such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia, are highly prevalent, particularly in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. In these settings, due to distance to centralised laboratories, the return of laboratory test results can take a week or longer, and many young people do not receive treatment, or it is considerably delayed. Point-of-care testing (POCT) provides an opportunity for same day diagnosis and treatment. Molecular POC testing for STIs was available at 31 regional or remote primary health care clinic sites through the Test-Treat-And-GO (TANGO2) program. This qualitative study sought to identify barriers and facilitators to further scaling up STI POCT in remote Aboriginal communities within Australia.
A total of 15 healthcare workers (including nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners) and five managers (including clinic coordinators and practice managers) were recruited from remote health services involved in the TTANGO2 program to participate in semi-structured in-depth interviews. Health services’ clinics were purposively selected to include those with high or low STI POCT uptake. Personnel participants were selected via a hybrid approach including nomination by clinic managers and purposive sampling to include those in roles relevant to STI testing and treatment and those who had received TTANGO2 training for POCT technology. Milat’s scaling up guide informed the coding framework and analysis.
Acceptability of STI POCT technology among healthcare workers and managers was predominantly influenced by self-efficacy and perceived effectiveness of POCT technology as well as perceptions of additional workload burden associated with POCT. Barriers to integration of STI POCT included retention of trained staff to conduct POCT. Patient reach (including strategies for patient engagement) was broadly considered an enabler for STI testing scale up using POCT technology.
Remote healthcare clinics should be supported by both program and clinic management throughout scaling up efforts to ensure broad acceptability of STI POCT as well as addressing local health systems’ issues and identifying and enhancing opportunities for patient engagement.
Sexually transmissible infections (STIs), Point of care testing (POCT), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Acceptability, Scaling up, Qualitative research