The experience of point-of-care testing for influenza in Scotland in 2017/18 and 2018/19 - no gain without pain

Elizabeth M. Dickson (Lead / Corresponding author), Diogo F. P. Marques, Sandra Currie, Annette Little, Kirsty Mangin, Michael Coyne, Arlene Reynolds, Jim McMenamin, David Yirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: During the 2017/18 and 2018/19 influenza seasons, molecular amplification-based point-of-care tests (mPOCT) were introduced in Scotland to aid triaging respiratory patients for hospital admission, yet communication of results to national surveillance was unaccounted for.AimThis retrospective study aims to describe steps taken to capture mPOCT data and assess impact on influenza surveillance.

Methods: Questionnaires determined mPOCT usage in 2017/18 and 2018/19. Searches of the Electronic Communication of Surveillance in Scotland (ECOSS) database were performed and compared with information stored in laboratory information management systems. Effect of incomplete data on surveillance was determined by comparing routine against enhanced data and assessing changes in influenza activity levels determined by the moving epidemic method.

Results: The number of areas employing mPOCT increased over the two seasons (6/14 in 2017/18 and 8/14 in 2018/19). Analysis of a small number of areas (n = 3) showed capture of positive mPOCT results in ECOSS improved between seasons and remained high (> 94%). However, capture of negative results was incomplete. Despite small discrepancies in weekly activity assessments, routine data were able to identify trend, start, peak and end of both influenza seasons.

Conclusion: This study has shown an improvement in capture of data from influenza mPOCT and has highlighted issues that need to be addressed for results to be accurately captured in national surveillance. With the clear benefit to patient management we suggest careful consideration should be given to the connectivity aspects of the technology in order to ensure minimal impact on national surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900419
Number of pages8
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020


  • Influenza
  • national surveillance
  • patient management
  • point-of-care testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Virology


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