Status: Published on
For acute respiratory tract infections in primary care settings

In February 2018, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) commenced work on a health technology assessment (HTA) in relation to C-reactive protein point-of-care testing (CRP POCT). HIQA agreed to undertake the HTA following a formal request from the Lead of the Primary Care Clinical Programme in the Health Services Executive (HSE). The aim of the HTA is to establish the clinical and economic impact of providing point-of-care testing to inform antibiotic prescribing for patients presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in primary care. This request was endorsed by the Department of Health and was included in the 2018 HIQA HTA work plan.

What is the public consultation about?

Antimicrobial resistance is a significant threat to public health, and widely acknowledged to be associated with the excessive and inappropriate consumption of antibiotics. Most antibiotics are prescribed in primary care settings and frequently to treat respiratory tract infections. The objective of CRP POCT is to assist the clinician rule out serious bacterial infection, thereby supporting a decision not to prescribe an antibiotic to those who are unlikely to benefit from treatment.

This HTA will inform a decision as to whether CRP POCT should be used to support antibiotic prescribing in primary care for patients presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infection. The assessment reviews the clinical and cost-effectiveness of CRP POCT, as well as the organisational implications associated with introducing CRP POCT in primary care.