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1.
BMC Prim Care ; 24(1): 93, 2023 04 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2295505

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global health issue, bringing significant health burden and costs to societies. Increased antibiotic consumption (ABC) is linked to AMR emergence. Some of the known drivers of ABC are antibiotics over-prescription by physicians and their misuse by patients. Family doctors are recognised as important stakeholders in the control of ABC as they prescribe antibiotics and are considered a reliable source of medical information by patients. Therefore, it is important to explore their perceptions, especially in Romania, which has the highest ABC among European Union Member States. Furthermore, there is no published research exploring Romanian family doctors' perceptions regarding this phenomenon. METHODS: This was a qualitative study with data collection via semi-structured interviews among 12 family doctors. Manifest and latent content analysis was used to gain an in-depth understanding of their perceptions. Findings were mapped onto the domains of the Behaviour Change Wheel to facilitate a theory driven systematization and analysis. RESULTS: Two main subthemes emerged: i) factors affecting ABC and prescribing and ii) potential interventions to tackle ABC and antibiotic resistance. The factors were further grouped in those that related to the perceived behaviour of family doctors or patients as well as those that had to do with the various systems, local contexts and the COVID-19 pandemic. An overarching theme: 'family doctors in Romania see their role differently when it comes to antibiotic resistance and perceive the lack of patient education or awareness as one of the major drivers of ABC' was articulated. The main findings suggested that the perceived factors span across the capability, opportunity and motivational domains of the behaviour change wheel and could be addressed through a variety of interventions - some identified by the participants. Findings can also be viewed through cultural lenses which shed further light on the family doctor- patient dynamic when it comes to antibiotics use. CONCLUSION: Potential interventions to tackle identified factors emerged, revolving mostly on efforts to educate patients or the public. This exploratory research provides key perspectives and facilitates further research on potential interventions to successfully address AMR in Romania or similar settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Romania , Physicians, Family , Drug Resistance, Microbial , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
2.
JAMA Netw Open ; 6(4): e239602, 2023 04 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2297913

ABSTRACT

Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has played a role in increased use of virtual care in primary care. However, few studies have examined the association between virtual primary care visits and other health care use. Objective: To evaluate the association between the percentage of virtual visits in primary care and the rate of emergency department (ED) visits. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used routinely collected administrative data and was conducted in Ontario, Canada. The sample comprised family physicians with at least 1 primary care visit claim between February 1 and October 31, 2021, and permanent Ontario residents who were alive as of March 31, 2021. All residents were assigned to physicians according to enrollment and billing data. Exposure: Family physicians' virtual visit rate was the exposure. Physicians were stratified by the percentage of total visits that they delivered virtually (via telephone or video) during the study period (0% [100% in person], >0%-20%, >20%-40%, >40%-60%, >60%-80%, >80% to <100%, or 100%). Main Outcomes and Measures: Population-level ED visit rate was calculated for each stratum of virtual care use. Multivariable regression models were used to understand the relative rate of patient ED use after adjusting for rurality of practice, patient characteristics, and 2019 ED visit rates. Results: Data were analyzed for a total of 13 820 family physicians (7114 males [51.5%]; mean [SD] age, 50 [13.1] years) with 12 951 063 patients (6 714 150 females [51.8%]; mean [SD] age, 42.6 [22.9] years) who were attached to these physicians. Most physicians provided between 40% and 80% of care virtually. A higher percentage of the physicians who provided more than 80% of care virtually were 65 years or older, female individuals, and practiced in big cities. Patient comorbidity and morbidity were similar across strata of virtual care use. The mean (SD) number of ED visits was highest among patients whose physicians provided only in-person care (470.3 [1918.8] per 1000 patients) and was lowest among patients of physicians who provided more than 80% to less than 100% of care virtually (242.0 [800.3] per 1000 patients). After adjustment for patient characteristics, patients of physicians with more than 20% of visits delivered virtually had lower rates of ED visits compared with patients of physicians who provided more than 0% to 20% of care virtually (eg, >80% to <100% vs >0%-20% virtual visits in big cities: relative rate, 0.77%; 95% CI, 0.74%-0.81%). This pattern was unchanged across all rurality of practice strata and after adjustment for 2019 ED visit rates. In urban areas, there was a gradient whereby patients of physicians providing the highest level of virtual care had the lowest ED visit rates. Conclusions and Relevance: Findings of this study show that patients of physicians who provided a higher percentage of virtual care did not have higher ED visit rates compared with patients of physicians who provided the lowest levels of virtual care. The findings refute the hypothesis that family physicians providing more care virtually during the pandemic resulted in higher ED use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Male , Humans , Female , Middle Aged , Adult , Ontario/epidemiology , Physicians, Family , Cross-Sectional Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital
3.
Ann Fam Med ; 20(20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2274705

ABSTRACT

Introduction The novel coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19) has spread rapidly with vast global implications. This study assessed how family physicians in Kansas responded to COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic on the physicians' well-being. Methods. The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of 113 family physicians in Kansas between May 22, 2020 and June 25, 2020. The study participants completed an anonymous, 18-item survey assessing family physicians' concerns about being exposed to COVID-19, levels of personal depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout in addition to demographic information. Results. There was a 45.6% response rate, with 50.4% (n=57) of the respondents reporting manifestations of burnout. The physicians who personally treated any presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 patient, compared to those who did not, were more likely to report at least one manifestation of burnout (odds ratio[OR]=3.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38-11.36; P = .011), experience emotional exhaustion (OR=3.21; 95% CI, 1.01-10.10; P<.05), and feel a higher level of personal stress (OR=1.13; 95% CI, 1.01-1.27; P=.011). Conclusion. Our findings demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic may be taking an emotional toll on family physicians in Kansas. This study provides a baseline from which to continue further monitoring of outcomes such as burnout, depression, anxiety, and stress, to determine the need for interventions, and influence the implementation of programs to support physician wellness. These data can help drive wellness and mental health support initiatives at local, state, and national levels to help diminish the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physicians.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Humans , Physicians, Family , Pandemics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Kansas
4.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 23(1): 338, 2023 Apr 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2262576

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Prior to the pandemic, Canada lagged behind other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in the uptake of virtual care. The onset of COVID-19, however, resulted in a near-universal shift to virtual primary care to minimise exposure risks. As jurisdictions enter a pandemic recovery phase, the balance between virtual and in-person visits is reverting, though it is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels. Our objective was to explore Canadian family physicians' perspectives on the rapid move to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic, to inform both future pandemic planning for primary care and the optimal integration of virtual care into the broader primary care context beyond the pandemic. METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 68 family physicians from four regions in Canada between October 2020 and June 2021. We used a purposeful, maximum variation sampling approach, continuing recruitment in each region until we reached saturation. Interviews with family physicians explored their roles and experiences during the pandemic, and the facilitators and barriers they encountered in continuing to support their patients through the pandemic. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and thematically analysed for recurrent themes. RESULTS: We identified three prominent themes throughout participants' reflections on implementing virtual care: implementation and evolution of virtual modalities during the pandemic; facilitators and barriers to implementing virtual care; and virtual care in the future. While some family physicians had prior experience conducting remote assessments, most had to implement and adapt to virtual care abruptly as provinces limited in-person visits to essential and urgent care. As the pandemic progressed, initial forays into video-based consultations were frequently replaced by phone-based visits, while physicians also rebalanced the ratio of virtual to in-person visits. Medical record systems with integrated capacity for virtual visits, billing codes, supportive clinic teams, and longitudinal relationships with patients were facilitators in this rapid transition for family physicians, while the absence of these factors often posed barriers. CONCLUSION: Despite varied experiences and preferences related to virtual primary care, physicians felt that virtual visits should continue to be available beyond the pandemic but require clearer regulation and guidelines for its appropriate future use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Family , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Canada/epidemiology , Qualitative Research
5.
Br J Gen Pract ; 73(730): e348-e355, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2271255

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As the first point of contact in health care, primary care providers play an integral role in pandemic response. Despite this, primary care has been overlooked in previous pandemic plans, with a lack of emphasis on ways in which the unique characteristics of family practice could be leveraged to create a more effective response. AIM: To explore family physicians' perceptions of the integration of primary care in the COVID-19 pandemic response. DESIGN AND SETTING: Descriptive qualitative approach examining family physician roles during the COVID-19 pandemic across four regions in Canada. METHOD: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with family physicians and participants were asked about their roles during each pandemic stage, as well as facilitators and barriers they experienced in performing these roles. Interviews were transcribed and a thematic analysis approach was employed to develop a unified coding template across the four regions and identify recurring themes. RESULTS: In total, 68 family physicians completed interviews. Four priorities for integrating primary care in future pandemic planning were identified: 1) improve communication with family physicians; 2) prioritise community-based primary care; 3) leverage the longitudinal relationship between patients and family physicians; and 4) preserve primary care workforce capacity. Across all regions, family physicians felt that primary care was not well incorporated into the COVID-19 pandemic response. CONCLUSION: Future pandemic plans require greater integration of primary care to ensure the delivery of an effective and coordinated pandemic response. Strengthening pandemic preparedness requires a broader reconsideration and better understanding of the central role of primary care in health system functioning.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Family , Humans , Pandemics , Canada/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Qualitative Research
6.
BMC Prim Care ; 24(1): 56, 2023 02 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2271254

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite well-documented increased demands and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during previous disease outbreaks, health systems in Canada were poorly prepared to meet the need for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the primary care sector, PPE shortages impacted the delivery of health services and contributed to increased workload, fear, and anxiety among primary care providers. This study examines family physicians' (FPs) response to PPE shortages during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to inform future pandemic planning. METHODS: As part of a multiple case study, we conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with FPs across four regions in Canada. During the interviews, FPs were asked to describe the pandemic-related roles they performed over different stages of the pandemic, facilitators and barriers they experienced in performing these roles, and potential roles they could have filled. Interviews were transcribed and a thematic analysis approach was employed to identify recurring themes. For the current study, we examined themes related to PPE. RESULTS: A total of 68 FPs were interviewed across the four regions. Four overarching themes were identified: 1) factors associated with good PPE access, 2) managing PPE shortages, 3) impact of PPE shortages on practice and providers, and 4) symbolism of PPE in primary care. There was a wide discrepancy in access to PPE both within and across regions, and integration with hospital or regional health authorities often resulted in better access than community-based practices. When PPE was limited, FPs described rationing and reusing these resources in an effort to conserve, which often resulted in anxiety and personal safety concerns. Many FPs expressed that PPE shortages had come to symbolize neglect and a lack of concern for the primary care sector in the pandemic response. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic response, hospital-centric plans and a lack of prioritization for primary care led to shortages of PPE for family physicians. This study highlights the need to consider primary care in PPE conservation and allocation strategies and to examine the influence of the underlying organization of primary care on PPE distribution during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Family , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Canada/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment
7.
J Med Internet Res ; 25: e40267, 2023 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2239118

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Funding changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic supported the growth of direct-to-consumer virtual walk-in clinics in several countries. Little is known about patients who attend virtual walk-in clinics or how these clinics contribute to care continuity and subsequent health care use. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to describe the characteristics and measure the health care use of patients who attended virtual walk-in clinics compared to the general population and a subset that received any virtual family physician visit. METHODS: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study in Ontario, Canada. Patients who had received a family physician visit at 1 of 13 selected virtual walk-in clinics from April 1 to December 31, 2020, were compared to Ontario residents who had any virtual family physician visit. The main outcome was postvisit health care use. RESULTS: Virtual walk-in patients (n=132,168) had fewer comorbidities and lower previous health care use than Ontarians with any virtual family physician visit. Virtual walk-in patients were also less likely to have a subsequent in-person visit with the same physician (309/132,168, 0.2% vs 704,759/6,412,304, 11%; standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.48), more likely to have a subsequent virtual visit (40,030/132,168, 30.3% vs 1,403,778/6,412,304, 21.9%; SMD 0.19), and twice as likely to have an emergency department visit within 30 days (11,003/132,168, 8.3% vs 262,509/6,412,304, 4.1%; SMD 0.18), an effect that persisted after adjustment and across urban/rural resident groups. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to Ontarians attending any family physician virtual visit, virtual walk-in patients were less likely to have a subsequent in-person physician visit and were more likely to visit the emergency department. These findings will inform policy makers aiming to ensure the integration of virtual visits with longitudinal primary care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , Telemedicine , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Delivery of Health Care , Ontario , Physicians, Family , Retrospective Studies
8.
Eur J Gen Pract ; 29(2): 2169270, 2023 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2239027

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Efforts to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus would fall short without strong primary health care. OBJECTIVES: In this study, we aimed to determine the experiences, views and suggestions of family physicians regarding their roles, primary care health systems' preparedness and the challenges/needs for a better organisation during the pandemic via in-depth exploration. METHODS: Twenty-one family physicians working in different cities of Turkey participated in semi-structured interviews between 15/08/2020-21/01/2021. Convenience sampling was used. We did this qualitative study through interviews by telephone. Participants were asked seven open-ended questions. Thematic analysis was used, which included reading the transcript, identifying significant phrases and formulating meanings and validating meanings through research team discussions to reach consensus, identifying themes. RESULTS: Ten of the participants were female and the average age of the participants was 39.5 (SD = 10.5) years. Twelve of the family physicians are specialists in family medicine. Four themes were identified: role of primary care in the pandemic, pandemic preparedness of primary care, challenges of working in primary care centres during the COVID-19 pandemics, and approaches to future pandemics. CONCLUSION: Our study showed that, despite unprepared primary care and undefined roles of family physicians in pandemic planning, family physicians played a significant role in pandemic management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Adult , Male , Physicians, Family , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Turkey , Qualitative Research
9.
J Am Board Fam Med ; 36(1): 1-3, 2023 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2228310

ABSTRACT

This issue's teasers: A broad scope of care by family physicians could be incentivized and has positive outcomes. Family physicians could do more dermoscopy-a mixed specialty group of experts provide information on diagnosis with associated features and proficiency standards for primary care clinicians. Clinicians could trust more, and do less, such as adult measles-mumps-rubella boosters. Family physicians differ from pediatricians on how to deliver vitamin D to newborns. Practice scope varies by location. Is monetary incentive a key to incentivize COVID vaccination? A new, useful, easy functional status questionnaire. This issue also includes articles on both adult and pediatric obesity, a systematic review of social determinants of health and documentation thereof, plus more.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Measles , Mumps , Rubella , Infant, Newborn , Child , Adult , Humans , Physicians, Family , Vaccination , Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine
10.
MMW Fortschr Med ; 165(1): 31, 2023 01.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2237663
11.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(2)2023 Jan 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2235791

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The health emergency caused by COVID-19 has led to substantial changes in the usual working system of primary healthcare centers and in relations with users. The Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine designed a survey that aimed to collect the opinions and facilitate the participation of its partners on what the future work model of general practitioners (GPs) should look like post-COVID-19. Methodology: Online survey of Family and Community Medicine members consisting of filiation data, 22 Likert-type multiple-choice questions grouped in five thematic axes, and a free text question. Results: The number of respondents to the questionnaire was 1051 (22.6% of all members): 83.2% said they spent excessive time on bureaucratic tasks; 91.8% were against call center systems; 66% believed that home care is the responsibility of every family doctor; 77.5% supported continuity of care as a fundamental value of patient-centered care; and >90% defended the contracting of complementary tests and first hospital visits from primary healthcare (PHC). Conclusions: The survey responses describe a strong consensus on the identity and competencies of the GP and on the needs of and the threats to the PHC system. The demand for an increase in health resources, greater professional leadership, elimination of bureaucracy, an increase in the number of health professionals, and greater management autonomy, are the axes towards which a new era in PHC should be directed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practitioners , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Surveys and Questionnaires , Physicians, Family
12.
Ann Fam Med ; (20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224399

ABSTRACT

Context: A year after the pandemic outbreak, primary care providers continue to face extreme psychological pressure. This study gauges the mental health and burnout levels of family physicians during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Objective: Assess the levels of personal, professional and patient-related burnout of family physicians (FPs) in the response to the pandemic and explore demographic and work-related factors that may influence burnout levels. Study Design: Online, self-report survey administered between April 7 and May 10, 2021. Setting or Dataset: The College of Family Physicians of Canada's (CFPC) list of all active members was used to reach family physicians in diverse practice settings in all Canadian provinces and territories. Population studied: All active CFPC family physician (FP) members were included. Family medicine trainees and members with primary addresses outside Canada were excluded. Most FPs in Canada are CFPC members; 39,991 FPs received survey invitations; 3,409 replied, for an overall response rate of 9%. Outcome Measures: The study used the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) which measures the level of personal, work-related and patient-related burnout. As well, question asking about FP's overall sense of well being and personal wellness which were asked in a previous survey, a year prior, were incorporated to allow for longitudinal comparison. Results: 15% of FPs reported feeling burned out and thinking of, or have taken, a break from work, three times more than last year. More than one-fifth of FPs currently experience high or severe personal (22%) and work-related (21%) burnout, while 13% report the same levels of patient-related burnout. Female FPs report higher levels of personal burnout (26%, 17%) and work-related burnout (23%, 16%) than male FPs. Generations Y (30%) and X (25%) are experiencing higher levels of personal burnout than Baby Boomers (14%) and Traditionalists (2%). Conclusions: Roughly 1-in-4 FPs in Canada are currently experiencing high or severe personal and work-related burnout. Compared with the survey results a year prior, the numbers are climbing rapidly, reflecting the serious challenges FPs facing during the pandemic. This study was designed to contribute to a better understanding of the extent of the problem, contributing factors and to assist in considering approaches to build effective support systems to improve the mental health of FPs.


Subject(s)
Burnout, Professional , COVID-19 , Humans , Male , Female , Physicians, Family/psychology , Mental Health , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Burnout, Professional/epidemiology , Burnout, Professional/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires
13.
Ann Fam Med ; (20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224398

ABSTRACT

Context: In Canada, most medical care is delivered through front line, first contact primary care. As nations traverse the most significant health event in a century, it is important to understand how primary care has been engaged in the challenge. Objective: Assess the patterns of direct clinical patient care involvement of Canadian family physicians (FPs) in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by province, age, remuneration model, and practice setting. Study Design: Online, self-report survey administered between April 7 and May 10, 2021. Survey invitations sent via email, with three reminders following initial contact. Setting or Dataset: The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) membership list was used to reach family physicians in diverse practice settings in all Canadian provinces and territories. Population studied: All active CFPC family physician (FP) members were included. Family medicine trainees and members with primary addresses outside Canada were excluded. Most FPs in Canada are CFPC members; 39,991 FPs received survey invitations; 3,409 replied, for an overall response rate of 9%. Outcome Measures: Percent of FPs engaged in the pandemic response, including performing COVID-19 testing, administering COVID-19 vaccines, and caring for COVID-19 patients. Results: Almost all FPs (99%) were in some way involved in the COVID-19 response. Most FPs (77%) were involved in direct clinical patient care (eg vaccination, testing, and/or caring for COVID-19 patients). In particular, 54% cared for COVID-19 patients and 15% vaccinated patients at their practice. Older FPs, FPs receiving remuneration only via fee-for-service, and FPs practicing in family medicine clinics only were less likely to be involved in the COVID-19 response. The findings also vary across jurisdiction. Conclusions: While most family physicians have been involved in the COVID-19 response, discrepancies exist across jurisdiction, ages, remuneration types, and practice models. These results suggest that there were obstacles to the full involvement of Canada's primary care system in the response to the pandemic. Evidence generated by this study points to factors that could enable a more responsive future primary health care system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Family , Humans , Canada/epidemiology , Pandemics , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/epidemiology
14.
Ann Fam Med ; (20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224397

ABSTRACT

Context: As a front-line resource, primary care could function as an indispensable health system resource during pandemic crises. However, throughout COVID-19, Canada's primary care providers expressed concern over their ability to respond. This study investigates factors related to these concerns, suggesting key areas for future primary care system development. Objective: Assess specific areas where robust, well-supported primary care could contribute significantly to the health system's pandemic response, & factors that may have prevented it from doing so. Study Design: Online, self-report survey administered over 3 weeks, April-May, 2021. Survey invitations sent via email, with three reminders following initial contact. Setting or Dataset: The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) membership list was used to reach family physicians in diverse practice settings in all Canadian provinces and territories. Population studied: All active CFPC family physician (FP) members were included. Most FPs in Canada are CFPC members; 39,991 FPs received survey invitations; 3,409 replied, for an overall response rate of 9%. Outcome Measures: Percent of FP engaged in systems level, pandemic response measures, including: 1) reporting COVID-19 cases to public health authorities, 2) identifying priority patients for vaccination, 3) participating in COVID-19 task forces, & 4) contributing to COVID-19 research/clinical studies. Results: Overall, one-third (34%) of FPs say that family practices in their region report COVID-19 cases to public health authorities. Most FPs (55%) say that their practices have not been asked to identify priority cases for COVID-19 vaccination. Less than 1-in-5 (19%) FPs have been involved in COVID-19 advisory/planning committees, task forces or groups. Very few FPs (6%) contribute to COVID-19 research/clinical studies. Half of FPs (50%) are highly concerned about the lack of clarity from government regarding FP response to the pandemic. These findings vary across jurisdictions and practice/remuneration models. Conclusions: Canada's primary care system has not been adequately engaged in important COVID-19 response measures, including monitoring viral spread in the population, pandemic planning, vaccination roll out, and therapeutic research. Practice models and remuneration arrangements are related to primary care's responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic,& should be considered in future primary care health system development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Canada/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Physicians, Family , Primary Health Care
15.
Ann Fam Med ; (20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224392

ABSTRACT

Context: On March 14, 2020, the Ontario, Canada health insurance plan approved COVID-19 physician virtual billing codes; family physicians (FPs) rapidly adopted a new model of care. Virtual care may remain post-pandemic; however, its future should be informed by evidence that considers access and continuity. Objective: 1) to determine FP virtual visit volumes and patient characteristics and 2) to explore FPs' perspectives on virtual visit adoption and implementation. Study Design: Mixed methods: Secondary analysis of health administrative (HA) data and semi-structured qualitative interviews with FPs. Setting or Dataset: London and Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada. HA data through ICES, Ontario entity holding data. Population studied: FPs and their patients. Outcome Measures: Volumes of FP in-person and virtual visits during early pandemic; characteristics of patients receiving care; FPs' perspectives on adopting and delivering virtual care. Results: Overall visit volume dropped by 36% during first wave, recovered to pre-pandemic levels by October 2020. Sharp in-person visit drop of 73% and virtual visit uptake from 0.08% of total visits to 57% within two weeks of March 2020. FPs described this initial drop in volume as patients not seeking care and practices lacking PPE. The move to virtual care was largely to telephone visits. Patient characteristics compared to pre-pandemic, the proportion seeking care were older (46 vs 50 years), more vulnerable (38% vs 41%), and more multimorbidity (33% vs 41%). This was consistent with FP reports that healthier patients stayed away, routine care deferred, sicker patients needed to be seen. FPs believed most vulnerable patients had access to care but cautioned highly vulnerable such as those homeless did not have cell phone access or a safe place to receive calls. Rural FPs reported access issues because of lack of high-speed internet. FPs attributed success of virtual care to the continuity in relationships they had with patients that were established in person pre-pandemic. Conclusions: FPs moved rapidly to virtual care. FP offices remained open despite PPE concerns but overall volumes dropped initially. Vulnerable and sicker patients received care but FPs expressed concern for highly vulnerable and rural residents. FPs believed they could offer patient-centred care over the phone but indicated the importance of maintaining in-person care to build relationships.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Family , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , London , COVID-19/epidemiology , Rural Population
16.
Ann Fam Med ; (20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2224391

ABSTRACT

Context: The first wave of COVID-19 in Calgary, Alberta health zone accelerated Primary Care (PC) integration. Specifically, it connected Family Physicians (FPs) with their counterparts in the broader health system to deliver wraparound patient care through a COVID-19 Integrated Pathway (CIP). A key element of the CIP included a data sharing platform that facilitated the provision of test results directly to the FP identified by patients. Public Health provided test results for all patients to the primary care system so they could be followed up by primary care to improve their outcomes. Objectives: To evaluate the CIP by describing its function and capacity to facilitate FP follow-up with COVID positive patients; and to inform refinement of the CIP for future use. Study Design: This abstract reports on the quantitative arm of a mixed methods study. Setting/Dataset: The Calgary Health Zone. Primary data were drawn from the Calgary COVID-19 Care Clinic (C4), a designated hub clinic for COVID-19 patients. Secondary data were drawn from provincially maintained records of hospitalization, emergency department visits, and FP claims. Participants: FPs and COVID-19 patients. Intervention: The data platform and PC attachment elements of the CIP. Outcome Measures: The characteristics of patients cared for via the CIP (age, sex, ethnicity, and risk-level); the proportion of patients without a FP who were attached to an FP; the number of patients followed by their FP in the community, and the number of specialist consultations made by FPs to support care, time from diagnosis to follow-up with PC/FP; ED and acute care utilization. Results: Between Apr. 16 and Sep. 27, 2020, 7706 patients were referred by the Public Health team to the C4 clinic. Of those, 51.4% were male, the median age was 36 y., and 86 deaths were reported. The majority of patients were referred to local PC networks where follow-up was conducted using the CIP: 3223 (43%) already had their own FP, 2448 (32%) were successfully attached to an FP, and 1899 (25%) of these patients were monitored by C4 physicians - these patients either did not have FP or their FP was not available to follow the patient. 8.6% of these patients visited ED and 3.1% were hospitalized. More than 80% of these patients had at least of 5 visits with their FP. Conclusion: Data suggest that the CIP facilitated primary care based management of patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Male , Adult , Female , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Social Change , Physicians, Family , Hospitalization , Primary Health Care
17.
Ann Fam Med ; (20 Suppl 1)2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2214697

ABSTRACT

Context: Amidst school shutdowns, sheltering in place, and social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic uniquely affected adolescents. Understanding the experiences of adolescents with respect to social distancing, health changes, information sources and virtual care can inform effective health care for adolescents both during and after the pandemic. Objective: An exploration into their health care experiences during the beginning stage of the pandemic was undertaken to increase knowledge among family physicians to enable adjustments to the provision of care, primarily done virtually. Study Design: This was a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. The interviews were used to understand the experiences of adolescents using virtual care during the pandemic, the impact of public health restrictions on their health, and their sources of information. Thematic analysis of interviews was conducted using a double-coding technique. Setting: This study took place in a family health team with eight primary care practices. Population studied: Adolescents, aged 14-17 years who had at least one virtual care appointment with their family physician in the first three months of the pandemic were included. Eleven participants were interviewed. Results: Most participants were compliant with social distancing guidelines, motivated by protecting family and community. Participants described both positive and negative impacts on their mental health. Some noted an increase in marijuana use. Sexual activity in pre-pandemic relationships did not change and one participant noted a decrease in casual sexual activity. Participants enjoyed the convenience offered by virtual care but acknowledged privacy and communication challenges. Parents were described as the most trusted source of information about the pandemic. Conclusions: Adolescents primarily look to parents for guidance and the increased family time promoted well-being. Physicians that are able to help adolescents negotiate privacy and mitigate communication challenges are able to provide effective virtual care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Qualitative Research , Communication , Physicians, Family
18.
Acta Med Port ; 36(4): 236-245, 2023 Apr 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2217831

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Following the outbreak of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus it was necessary to increase the non-face-to-face care activity through alternative means such as teleconsultation in primary health care. The adjustment to a type of remote consultation could have generated anxiety among family physicians. The main aim of the present study was to develop and validate a scale to assess the anxiety of family physicians during teleconsultation. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Observational, cross-sectional study involving a sample of family physicians working in Portugal. An online survey that evaluated anxiety in teleconsultation was developed. RESULTS: A total of 359 valid responses were included in an exploratory factor analysis, after determining the number of factors to retain. A four-factor structure was detected with loadings ranging overall, from 0.44 to 0.98. Correlations between factors ranged from 0.42 to 0.58. Exploratory factor analysis results varied between good and very good fit, with chi-square/df result = 2.448, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.062 [90% CI = (0.053, 0.073)], root mean square of the residuals (RMSR) = 0.030 and Tucker Lewis index (TLI) = 0.931. Composite reliability was higher than 0.7 for all factors and average variance extracted was close or above 0.5 for the extracted factors, confirming convergent validity. McDonald's omega (ω) = 0.95 suggested the presence of a second-order factor, and thus a global measure for assessing anxiety during teleconsultation. Concurrent validity results were good, with correlations ranging from r = -0.277 to r = -0.393 with General Self-Efficacy scale (GSE) and r = 0.302 to r = 0.547 with Depression Anxiety Stress scales (DASS). Moderate correlations found between DASS and the dimensions of AnsT-19 suggest that AnsT-19 is capturing anxiety from the teleconsultation point of view. AnsT-19 factors and total score were significantly associated with gender, experience as a family doctor, psychotropic medication during the pandemic period and pre-pandemic experience of teleconsultation, indicating good construct validity. The limitations of the study are related to the convenience process, the use of an online survey and self-reported measurements. CONCLUSION: AnsT-19 is a valid instrument to assess the anxiety of family physicians during teleconsultation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Remote Consultation , Humans , Anxiety/diagnosis , Anxiety/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Physicians, Family , Psychometrics , Reproducibility of Results , Surveys and Questionnaires
19.
BMC Psychol ; 10(1): 313, 2022 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2196481

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the natural progression of COVID-19, recovery usually takes months in most cases. Comprehensive evaluation of underlying complications requires a holistic approach as in primary health care, which creates additional workload and stress for family physicians. METHODS: The descriptive-cross-sectional study was carried out in 226 family physicians in Samsun, Turkey. Ethical permissions were obtained to conduct the study. State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scale was used as data collection tool. RESULTS: 214 physicians were included in the study. The majority of the participants in the study were female. Most of the family physicians were not specialist physicians. Most of them were married. The majority of family physicians do not smoke and did not have any chronic diseases. The trait anxiety score of the physicians was 43.40 ± 8.50, and the situational anxiety score was 48.09 ± 11.55. The correlation between trait anxiety and situational anxiety was positive and significant. Gender difference did not make a significant difference on anxiety. Anxiety was significantly higher in patients with chronic disease. Marital status, having a child, and a history of COVID disease do not have a significant effect on anxiety. CONCLUSION: At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the greatest struggle was given in secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions. In the following process, this burden shifted to primary health care institutions. This situation has increased the workload and stress of family physicians working in primary care. Therefore, it also increased perceived anxiety. Individuals with high trait anxiety scores have higher state anxiety scores.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Humans , Female , Male , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Physicians, Family , Turkey/epidemiology , Anxiety/epidemiology
20.
Fam Med ; 55(1): 38-44, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2205127

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic severely threatened all aspects of academic family medicine, constituting a crisis. Multiple publications have identified recommendations and documented the creative responses of primary care and academic organizations to address these challenges, but there is little research on how decisions came about. Our objective was to gain insight into the context, process, and nature of family medicine leaders' discussions in pivoting to address a crisis. METHODS: We used a qualitative descriptive design to explore new dimensions of existing concepts. The setting was the academic family medicine department at the University of Toronto. To identify leadership themes, we used the constant comparative method to analyze transcripts of monthly meetings of the departmental executive: three meetings immediately before and three following the declaration of a state emergency in Ontario. RESULTS: Six themes were evident before and after the onset of the pandemic: building capacity in academic family medicine; developing leadership; advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion; learner safety and wellness; striving for excellence; and promoting a supportive and collegial environment. Five themes emerged as specific responses to the crisis: situational awareness; increased multidirectional communication; emotional awareness; innovation in education and patient care; and proactive planning for extended adaptation to the pandemic. CONCLUSION: Existing cultural and organizational approaches formed the foundation for the crisis response, while crisis-specific themes reflected skills and attitudes that are essential in clinical family medicine, including adapting to community needs, communication, and emotional awareness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Family , Humans , Pandemics , Family Practice , Leadership
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