BACKGROUND: Point of Care Testing (POCT) is being increasingly used to augment the delivery of physical health care in a variety of settings, but their use in mental health has been limited. Research into understanding the barriers faced for successful implementation of POCT in these settings is lacking. We aimed to identify factors affecting engagement and implementation of POCT within mental health teams by exploring the attitudes to POCT, and the perceived impact POCT has on the practice of mental healthcare clinicians. METHODS: Alongside a study evaluating the impact of a point of care device in Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs), qualitative interviews were carried out with CMHT clinicians using POCT as part of annual physical checks for patients with severe and enduring mental illness. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Fifteen clinicians were interviewed across a range of professional backgrounds. Clinicians identified usability of the technology, positive impact on their patient's experience and improved self-efficacy as drivers for successful implementation of POCT into their clinical practice. Issues with device functioning and the potential for a negative effect on the therapeutic relationship with their patients were identified as barriers. Level of physical heath training was not found to be a barrier by mental health professionals to using POCT. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding barriers and drivers for engagement is important to allow co-production of POCT and guidelines to facilitate introduction of POCT into routine clinical practice.
CMHT, Community mental health team, POCT, Physical health, Point of care device, Point of care testing, Severe mental illness