Improving patient care in the local community

Tuesday, 22 February 2005

The University of Adelaide is taking a lead role in improving patient care in the local community.

The University's Department of General Practice recently led a consortium that successfully tendered to provide the services of Trial Manager and Evaluator for the Point of Care trial in general practice.

The other consortium members are the Community-Point-of-Care Services Unit at Flinders University's Rural Clinical School and iCARnet, Cardiology Department Flinders Medical Centre.

Professor Justin Beilby, currently Head of the Department of General Practice and Rural Health at the University of Adelaide, and team leader, said the trial would take place in three settings: urban, rural and remote communities.

"It will aim to prove that local pathology testing will improve and create more efficient care and be acceptable to GPs and patients.

"It will also test whether these innovative models can be sustainable and safely implemented in general practice," he said.

The Trial Manager/Evaluator will be responsible for the overall management and coordination of the trial, as well as collecting and analysing the data to support the trial's final report and recommendations.

"The consortium members include experts in the field of Point of Care Testing (PoCT) and general practice, particularly in rural and remote settings," Professor Beilby said.

Point of Care Testing (PoCT) is pathology testing performed by, or on behalf of, a medical practitioner at the time of consultation allowing the results to be used to make immediate and informed decisions about patient care.

The Trial is expected to start in mid 2005 with an initial six-month preparation phase during which participants will be recruited and the trial set up. At the end of this time, the trial will be ready to operate in selected general practices.

The live phase of the trial will be of 18 month's duration and will be conducted in three phases, each of six month's duration. In the first phase, those in the control group will have their pathology tests done by a pathology laboratory as normal. In the second phase, testing will be done by PoCT only for the experimental group.

For all phases of the trial, the control group will have their pathology tests done by a pathology laboratory as normal. At any stage of the trial patients, or their GP, can decide to use a pathology laboratory instead of PoCT.

Professor Beilby said there is pressure, especially from General Practitioners, to include an expanded range of Point of Care Tests (PoCT) in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Arguments around convenience for patient and practitioner, improved management of a patient's condition and comparative cost have been cited.


Contact Details

Professor Justin Beilby
Head of the Department of General Practice
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 08 8313 3460
Mobile: 0403 017 457

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814