Helping to prioritise rapid COVID-19 testing within UK hospitals
Working with our CONDOR partners we have analysed clinical opinion to pinpoint where rapid COVID-19 testing could have the greatest impact in UK hospitals.
With coronavirus cases in the UK rising rapidly again, it is vital to have fast, reliable testing for COVID-19. However more research is needed to identify which of these new tests are the most promising for different scenarios. Allocating and placing these new tests within the most appropriate hospital departments will ensure patients are dealt with accordingly and receive the care they need as soon as possible.
We conducted and analysed interviews with 16 clinicians from 12 NHS Trusts across England. They represented 10 different specialisms covering urgent, acute and elective admissions. This enabled us to map out the sequence of interactions a patient with suspected COVID-19 experiences as they navigate through different hospital settings. This was part of the CONDOR (COVID-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Platform) programme of work and involved close collaboration with the NIHR London In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative.
Our analysis revealed that COVID-19 testing currently helps to guide infection control considerations more so than treatment decisions.
Our results indicated that priority for rapid testing should be given to hospitals with limited access to laboratory services and availability of single rooms.
Rapid testing would also be valuable in settings where urgent decisions need to be made such as emergency surgery, maternity services and organ transplant departments.
This may help to reduce viral transmission within areas of the hospital where patients are waiting for test results.
- This work is informing the design of CONDOR’s clinical studies.
- This will ensure that the evidence developed, and tests that are being evaluated, will be meaningful for real-world use.
- Working with NICE we have strongly influenced detailed economic modelling for diagnostic testing within hospitals.
- Through this research we are speeding up the delivery of the most promising new rapid COVID-19 tests into practice.