Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Rapid Point of Care Test for Influenza

J Am Board Fam Med; 2019 Mar; Dale, et al

In a cohort of 300 university students, the use of a rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for influenza did not significantly improve the likelihood of guideline consistent care. Students presented with cough and 1 influenza-like illness symptom at a university health clinic to receive care guided by a PCR test. Of the 300 patients receiving the PCR test, 264 had complete medical records and were compared to 771 who received usual care. Researchers found:

  • Logistic regression found that the odds of receiving guideline supported care did not significantly increase for patients receiving PCR guided care.
  • It significantly decreased the likelihood of an antibiotic prescription.
  • It also decreased the likelihood of return visits within 2 weeks.


Dale AP, Ebell M, McKay B, Handel A, Forehand R, Dobbin K. Impact of a rapid point of care test for influenza on guideline consistent care and antibiotic use. J Am Board Fam Med. 2019;32(2):226-233. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2019.02.180183.