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1.
Aust J Gen Pract ; 50(11): 845-849, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1543140

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The approach to performing COVID-19 testing in general practice has been going through an evolution and is variable. The aim of this study was to determine what underlying factors, if any, impeded onsite COVID-19 testing in general practices for patients during the second wave of the pandemic in Victoria. METHOD: This study was conducted during August 2020 and October 2020. Fourteen semi-structured interviews with general practitioners, practice nurses and practice managers were conducted. RESULTS: Barriers to performing onsite testing for COVID-19 were identified as: 1) individual, 2) practitioner perception of fear, 3) lack of personal protective equipment, 4) inappropriate clinic design/location, 5) risk of patient avoidance, 6) financial risk, 7) a lack of knowledge and 8) lack of guidelines. DISCUSSION: This study's findings relate to a unique period in Victoria, which at the time accounted for 70% of the nation's total cases and 90% of deaths. Therefore, the barriers identified in this study may help inform policymakers in regard to planning for future responses to similar situations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , General Practitioners , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Eur J Gen Pract ; 27(1): 339-345, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522037

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most COVID-19 patients experience a mild course of the disease and can be managed in general practice. However, in the early pandemic, most research was conducted in secondary care. OBJECTIVES: This scoping review aimed to identify original research published within the first year of the pandemic relevant to general practice regarding symptomatic, non-hospitalised patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 disease to provide an overview of published research. METHODS: PubMed was searched for studies written in English, Swedish, Danish, or Norwegian published before 1 April 2021. Two authors screened all titles and abstracts and identified full texts. RESULTS: We screened 1303 titles and abstracts and retrieved 128 full texts. An additional 44 full-texts were obtained from references. After full-text reading, 79 articles were included, six of which were conducted in general practice, 20 in the community, 42 in hospitals, and 11 in other settings. Therapy and harm were investigated in randomised controlled trials in 11 out of 17 studies; the diagnosis was investigated using a diagnostic accuracy design in four out of 26 studies and prognosis in prospective studies in 10 out of 21 studies. The remaining 15 studies had other research questions. CONCLUSION: Although general practitioners in most countries must have been involved in managing patients with COVID-19, little research has been published from general practice during the first year of the pandemic. General practice research environments must be able to respond quickly in case of future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Int J Med Inform ; 157: 104624, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506596

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: As SARS-CoV-2 spread around the world, Australia was no exception. Part of the Australian response was a robust primary care approach, involving changes to care models (including telehealth) and the widespread use of data to inform the changes. This paper outlines how a large primary care database responded to provide real-time data to inform policy and practice. Simply extracting the data is not sufficient. Understanding the data is. The POpulation Level Analysis and Reporting (POLAR) program is designed to use GP data for multiple objectives and is built on a pre-existing engagement framework established over a fifteen-year period. Initially developed to provide QA activities for general practices and population level data for General Practice support organisations, the POLAR platform has demonstrated the critical ability to design and deploy real-time data analytics solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of stakeholders including state and federal government agencies. METHODS: The system extracts and processes data from over 1,300 general practices daily. Data is de-identified at the point of collection and encrypted before transfer. Data cleaning for analysis uses a variety of techniques, including Natural Language Processing and coding of free text information. The curated dataset is then distilled into several analytic solutions designed to address specific areas of investigation of interest to various stakeholders. One such analytic solution was a model we created that used multiple data inputs to rank patient geographic areas by the likelihood of a COVID-19 outbreak. The model utilised pathology ordering, COVID-19 related diagnoses, indication of COVID-19 related concern (via progress notes) and also incorporated state based actual confirmed case figures. RESULTS: Using the methods described, we were able to deliver real-time data feeds to practices, Primary Health Networks (PHN) and other agencies. In addition, we developed a COVID-19 geographic risk stratification based on local government areas (LGAs) to pro-actively inform the primary care response. Providing PHNs with a list of geographic priority hotspots allowed for better targeting and response of Personal Protective Equipment allocation and pop-up clinic placement. CONCLUSIONS: The program summarised here demonstrates the ability of a well-designed system underpinned by accurate and reliable data, to respond in real-time to a rapidly evolving public health emergency in a way which supports and enhances the health system response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Australia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Aust J Gen Pract ; 492020 Sep 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503123

ABSTRACT

We recommend a precautionary approach to respiratory protection for healthcare workers potentially exposed to SARS-CoV-2 until the efficacy of surgical masks can be proven.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Health Personnel , Humans , Masks , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Aust J Gen Pract ; 492020 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503116

ABSTRACT

The concept of adaptive reserve has been identified as being critical to help practices reinforce themselves against the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Family Practice , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
BMJ ; 375: n2454, 2021 10 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488285
11.
BMC Fam Pract ; 22(1): 173, 2021 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455919

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A SARS-CoV-2 infection can lead from asymptomatic through to critical disease in a dynamic and unpredictable course within a few days. The challenge in outpatient monitoring the highly contagious COVID-19 disease during the ongoing pandemic is to filter severe courses followed by admission to hospital with the aim of preventing an overburdening of clinics. However, little is known of the effect of risk factors on the course of the infection of outpatient patients. To support general practices in managing high risk patients, we designed a COVID-19 surveillance and care tool (CovidCare). It includes an initial assessment of yet known risk factors and symptoms and a continuous telephone monitoring of signs and symptoms. This study aims to investigate the effects of different risk factors on the course of the COVID-19 disease, utilisation of different health care services and to gain insights into the utilisation of CovidCare in general practices. METHODS: We will conduct a multi-centered prospective, longitudinal non-controlled observational trial of COVID-19 patients in general practices. Overall, 700 GPs who participate in general-practice centered care by the AOK Baden-Württemberg (large German sickness fund) are eligible and will be invited for study participation, including adult, outpatient COVID-19 patients (or urgent suspicion and ≥ 50 years) with at least one additional known risk factor, who participate in general-practice centered care. The primary outcome is hospitalisation due to COVID-19. Secondary outcomes are diagnosis of pneumonia, utilisation of palliative care, mortality rate, anxiety and identification of predictive risk factors. Quantitative data analysis will focus on valid descriptive figures and mixed regression models. The accompanying process evaluation is based on interviews and questionnaires from general practice staff and patients. The analysis of the process evaluation is descriptive and explorative. DISCUSSION: The use of the COVID-19 surveillance and care tool is expected to encourage the provision of structured quality of care during the ongoing pandemic. This trial will provide an understanding of the COVID-19-disease and the effect of several risk factors on the course of the disease and health care utilisation. The results can be used for a better management of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00022054 .


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Adult , Humans , Middle Aged , Observational Studies as Topic , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
12.
Br J Gen Pract ; 71(706): 196-197, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448956
15.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(9): e28369, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1414069

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Digital mental health interventions stand to play a critical role in managing the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, enhancing their uptake is a key priority. General practitioners (GPs) are well positioned to facilitate access to digital interventions, but tools that assist GPs in identifying suitable patients are lacking. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate the suitability of a web-based mental health screening and treatment recommendation tool (StepCare) for improving the identification of anxiety and depression in general practice and, subsequently, uptake of digital mental health interventions. METHODS: StepCare screens patients for symptoms of depression (9-item Patient Health Questionnaire) and anxiety (7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale) in the GP waiting room. It provides GPs with stepped treatment recommendations that include digital mental health interventions for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Patients (N=5138) from 85 general practices across Australia were invited to participate in screening. RESULTS: Screening identified depressive or anxious symptoms in 43.09% (1428/3314) of patients (one-quarter were previously unidentified or untreated). The majority (300/335, 89.6%) of previously unidentified or untreated patients had mild to moderate symptoms and were candidates for digital mental health interventions. Although less than half were prescribed a digital intervention by their GP, when a digital intervention was prescribed, more than two-thirds of patients reported using it. CONCLUSIONS: Implementing web-based mental health screening in general practices can provide important opportunities for GPs to improve the identification of symptoms of mental illness and increase patient access to digital mental health interventions. Although GPs prescribed digital interventions less frequently than in-person psychotherapy or medication, the promising rates of uptake by GP-referred patients suggest that GPs can play a critical role in championing digital interventions and maximizing the associated benefits.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Cohort Studies , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
16.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e046086, 2021 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1408527

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed healthcare systems worldwide. Primary care providers have been at the forefront of the pandemic response and have needed to rapidly adjust processes and routines around service delivery. The pandemic provides a unique opportunity to understand how general practices prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. We will follow a range of general practices to characterise the changes to, and factors influencing, modifications to clinical and organisational routines within Australian general practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a prospective case study of multiple general practices using a participatory approach for design, data collection and analysis. The study is informed by the sociological concept of routines and will be set in six general practices in Melbourne, Australia during the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic. General practitioners associated with the Monash University Department of General Practice will act as investigators who will shape the project and contribute to the data collection and analysis. The data will include investigator diaries, an observation template and interviews with practice staff and investigators. Data will first be analysed by two external researchers using a constant comparative approach and then later refined at regular investigator meetings. Cross-case analysis will explain the implementation, uptake and sustainability of routine changes that followed the commencement of the pandemic. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval was granted by Monash University (23950) Human Research Ethics Committees. Practice reports will be made available to all participating practices both during the data analysis process and at the end of the study. Further dissemination will occur via publications and presentations to practice staff and medical practitioners.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Australia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Health Res Policy Syst ; 19(1): 122, 2021 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406723

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Health systems around the world have been forced to make choices about how to prioritize care, manage infection control and maintain reserve capacity for future disease outbreaks. Primary healthcare has moved into the front line as COVID-19 testing transitions from hospitals to multiple providers, where tracking testing behaviours can be fragmented and delayed. Pooled general practice data are a valuable resource which can be used to inform population and individual care decision-making. This project aims to examine the feasibility of using near real-time electronic general practice data to promote effective care and best-practice policy. METHODS: The project will utilize a design thinking approach involving all collaborators (primary health networks [PHNs], general practices, consumer groups, researchers, and digital health developers, pathology professionals) to enhance the development of meaningful and translational project outcomes. The project will be based on a series of observational studies utilizing near real-time electronic general practice data from a secure and comprehensive digital health platform [POpulation Level Analysis and Reporting (POLAR) general practice data warehouse]. The study will be carried out over 1.5 years (July 2020-December 2021) using data from over 450 general practices within three Victorian PHNs and Gippsland PHN, Eastern Melbourne PHN and South Eastern Melbourne PHN, supplemented by data from consenting general practices from two PHNs in New South Wales, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN and South Western Sydney PHN. DISCUSSION: The project will be developed using a design thinking approach, leading to the building of a meaningful near real-time COVID-19 geospatial reporting framework and dashboard for decision-makers at community, state and nationwide levels, to identify and monitor emerging trends and the impact of interventions/policy decisions. This will integrate timely evidence about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic related to its diagnosis and treatment, and its impact across clinical, population and general practice levels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practice , Australia , COVID-19 Testing , Electronics , Humans , Pandemics , Policy , SARS-CoV-2
18.
20.
GMS J Med Educ ; 38(2): Doc36, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389119

ABSTRACT

Aim: The seminar program of the KWBW Verbundweiterbildungplus® is offered by the Competence Center for Postgraduate Medical Education in Baden-Württemberg (KWBW) for physicians specializing in general practice (GP trainees). Attendance is a voluntary one comprised of 48 curricular units of 45 minutes each per GP trainee. This seminar program is meant to be attended in parallel to the postgraduate medical education in clinic or practice. The intention behind this project was to develop objectives, topics and a feasible structure for a seminar curriculum while taking time and financial constraints into account. Method: The Kern cycle was applied in an open, modified nominal group consensus technique in the form of an iterative process. Participating were 17 experts from the departments of general practice at the universities in Freiburg, Heidelberg, Tuebingen and Ulm, plus a pediatrician. Results: The main objective was defined as empowering GP trainees to independently provide high-quality primary care, including in rural areas. A basic curriculum was defined based on relevant frameworks, such as the 2018 Model Regulation for Postgraduate Medical Training (Musterweiterbildungsordnung/MWBO) and the Competency-based Curriculum General Practice (KCA). Overall, the seminar curriculum has 62 basic modules with 2 curricular units each (e.g. Basic Principles of General Practice, Chest Pain, Billing) and another 58 two-unit modules on variable topics (e.g. digitalization, travel medicine) adding up to 240 (124+116) curricular units. A blueprint with a rotation schedule for all of the teaching sites in Baden-Württemberg allows regular attendance by n=400 GP trainees over a period of five years, with individual variability in terms of program length. Conclusion: The model entails a five-year, flexible program to accompany the postgraduate medical education in general practice which can also be implemented in multicenter programs and those with high enrollments. The model's focus is on acquisition of core competencies for general practice. Despite the current shift to eLearning seminars due to SARS-CoV, the program's implementation is being continued, constantly evaluated, and used to further develop the KWBW Verbundweiterbildungplus® program.


Subject(s)
Clinical Competence , Curriculum , Education, Medical, Graduate , General Practice/education , General Practitioners/education , Universities , Germany , Humans , Research Report
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