Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on the Adoption of Virtual Care in General Practice in 20 Countries (inSIGHT): Protocol and Rationale Study.JMIR Res Protoc. 2021 Aug 26; 10(8):e30099.JR
In recent decades, virtual care has emerged as a promising option to support primary care delivery. However, despite the potential, adoption rates remained low. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it has suddenly been pushed to the forefront of care delivery. As we progress into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need and opportunity to review the impact remote care had in primary care settings and reassess its potential future role.
This study aims to explore the perspectives of general practitioners (GPs) and family doctors on the (1) use of virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) perceived impact on quality and safety of care, and (3) essential factors for high-quality and sustainable use of virtual care in the future.
This study used an online cross-sectional questionnaire completed by GPs distributed across 20 countries. The survey was hosted in Qualtrics and distributed using email, social media, and the researchers' personal contact networks. GPs were eligible for the survey if they were working mainly in primary care during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive statistical analysis will be performed for quantitative variables, and relationships between the use of virtual care and perceptions on impact on quality and safety of care and participants' characteristics may be explored. Qualitative data (free-text responses) will be analyzed using framework analysis.
Data collection took place from June 2020 to September 2020. As of this manuscript's submission, a total of 1605 GP respondents participated in the questionnaire. Further data analysis is currently ongoing.
The study will provide a comprehensive overview of the availability of virtual care technologies, perceived impact on quality and safety of care, and essential factors for high-quality future use. In addition, a description of the underlying factors that influence this adoption and perceptions, in both individual GP and family doctor characteristics and the context in which they work, will be provided. While the COVID-19 pandemic may prove the first great stress test of the capabilities, capacity, and robustness of digital systems currently in use, remote care will likely remain an increasingly common approach in the future. There is an imperative to identify the main lessons from this unexpected transformation and use them to inform policy decisions and health service design.
INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID)