Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: How do patients and health workers interact around malaria rapid diagnostic testing, and how are the tests experienced by patients in practice? A qualitative study in western Uganda

Citation

Altaras, Robin et al. (2017), Data from: How do patients and health workers interact around malaria rapid diagnostic testing, and how are the tests experienced by patients in practice? A qualitative study in western Uganda, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.39np4

Abstract

Background: Successful scale-up in the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) requires that patients accept testing and treatment based on RDT results and that healthcare providers treat according to test results. Patient-provider communication is a key component of quality care, and leads to improved patient satisfaction, higher adherence to treatment and better health outcomes. Voiced or perceived patient expectations are also known to influence treatment decision-making among healthcare providers. While there has been a growth in literature on provider practices around rapid testing for malaria, there has been little analysis of inter-personal communication around the testing process. We investigated how healthcare providers and patients interact and engage throughout the diagnostic and treatment process, and how the testing service is experienced by patients in practice. Methods: This research was conducted alongside a larger study which explored determinants of provider treatment decision-making following negative RDT results in a rural district (Kibaale) in mid-western Uganda, ten months after RDT introduction. Fifty-five patients presenting with fever were observed during routine outpatient visits at 12 low-level public health facilities. Observation captured communication practices relating to test purpose, results, diagnosis and treatment. All observed patients or caregivers were immediately followed up with in-depth interview. Analysis followed the ‘framework’ approach. A summative approach was also used to analyse observation data. Results: Providers failed to consistently communicate the reasons for carrying out the test, and particularly to RDT-negative patients, a diagnostic outcome or the meaning of test results, also leading to confusion over what the test can detect. Patients appeared to value testing, but were frustrated by the lack of communication on outcomes. RDT-negative patients were dissatisfied by the absence of information on an alternative diagnosis and expressed uncertainty around adequacy of proposed treatment. Conclusions: Poor provider communication practices around the testing process, as well as limited inter-personal exchange between providers and patients, impacted on patients’ perceptions of their proposed treatment. Patients have a right to health information and may be more likely to accept and adhere to treatment when they understand their diagnosis and treatment rationale in relation to their perceived health needs and visit expectations.

Usage Notes

Location

Uganda
Sub-Saharan Africa