Patient acceptability of targeted risk-based detection of non-communicable diseases in a dental and pharmacy setting

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Background: Non-communicable diseases [NCDs] are the major cause of mortality globally and are increasing in prevalence. Different healthcare professionals’ access different population groups; and engaging allied healthcare professionals in risk-driven early case detection of certain NCDs may be beneficial, especially those who have not been tested for NCDs within the previous 12 months.

The objectives of this study were to determine: whether NCD case finding in dental/community pharmacy settings is feasible in terms of patient acceptability, barriers to recruitment, impact on the existing service. Determine time taken to test for: type 2 diabetes risk [T2DM], chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], hypertension, vitamin D deficiency and chronic kidney disease [CKD]. Determine whether there is added benefit of point of care testing [POCT] to identify diabetes risk compared to a validated screening questionnaire alone.

Methods: An exploratory study was undertaken to explore issues associated with NCD assessment in one dental practice and one community pharmacy within the West-Midlands, UK. Fifty patients > 40 years-of-age were recruited per site. Participants undertook: a questionnaire providing demographic data, any previous NCD diagnosis or positive family history. Validated questionnaires for determining NCD risk [T2DM/COPD]. Chair-side capillary blood [finger-prick] samples for HbA1C, creatinine/eGFR, Vitamin-D.

Prior work had been undertaken to measure the agreement between point of care testing [POCT] devices and a central laboratory method, and to gauge the opinions of participants regarding discomfort experienced using venous (antecubital fossa) and capillary (finger-prick) blood collection, via a 10 cm Visual-Analogue-Scale. The POCT devices demonstrated good concordance with laboratory testing and were acceptable methods of blood collection for participants.

Results: Recruitment rates demonstrated that 8 days were needed to recruit 50 participants and 60% of those approached opted to participate. The principal barrier to participation was time, with average time taken to test being 19mins. Utilising dental and pharmacy settings identified potential cases of previously undiagnosed disease.

Conclusions: Risk-targeted testing for NCDs in high street dental and community pharmacies is both attractive and acceptable to patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1576
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Dental
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Pharmacy
  • Prevention
  • Screening


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