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HELSEVEL-Gode og effektive helse-, omsorgs- og velferdstjenester

CovidNor - Experiences of patients and primary health care professionals during the COVID-19 epidemic in Norway

Alternative title: CovidNor - Erfaringer blant pasienter og helsearbeidere i norsk primærhelsetjeneste under Covid-19 epidemien

Awarded: NOK 5.0 mill.

Most patients with COVID19 have milder disease and are treated outside hospitals. In the study CovidNor, we have investigated the symptoms, complaints and concerns of patients treated in primary health care, and we have explored how GPs and municipal doctors handle the pandemic. The CovidNor study has three parts. 1. Through an online survey, we have collected information on symptoms, follow-up and concerns of people in isolation or quarantine. The study period was from March/April 2020 through June 2021. We are currently analysing results and preparing scientific papers. Subsequent record linkage of this information with data from various health registries may disclose predictors for developing a more serious disease as well as to detect possible complications and long-term effects of COVID19. 2. Through the research network PraksisNett, we have collected GPs? record information on how patients with respiratory tract infection are seen, examined, treated and followed up during the pandemic. A scientific paper is currently being prepared. 3. We have performed in-depth interviews with GPs, head physicians for municipal out-of-hours units (OoH-leaders) and municipal chief medical officers in Norway and infection control personnel in Sweden about how they handle the pandemic. We have paid particular interested in the collaboration between GPs and the municipality, management, communication and distribution of tasks, and adaptation to a situation characterized by rapid change. This has been, and is still, extensive work, and the first scientific paper presenting results is currently being prepared.

Current research on the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 have been mainly based on hospitalized patients. However, most infections are not severe and a majority of COVID-19 patients are diagnosed and handled in primary care. The overall project objective is to understand the clinical picture of early, mild to moderate forms of the disease and fears and experience of safeguarding among people personally affected by COVID-19 outside hospitals, as well as the response of the local medical teams in primary health care and the supporting health care system response including infection prevention and control. Through a web-based survey, we will invite people in isolation/quarantine at home to report symptoms and personal experiences and emotions throughout the course of the illness and/or period in isolation/quarantine. The survey results will be linked to registry follow-up to detect complications and long-term effects of COVID-19. We will invite general practitioners (GPs) to record case information of patients with respiratory tract infections during six weeks of the epidemic to provide clinical information of patients presenting to primary care. In-depth interview studies from a primary care perspective of GPs, leaders of municipal out-of-hours units and municipality chief medical officers will provide insight into how health care workers in Norwegian and Swedish primary care handle the epidemic. We want to focus in particular on their experiences of the local health care system responses including infection control. The clinical observational data of cases outside hospitals, both self-reported data and reported by GPs, will provide knowledge of the natural history of mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. This may help clinicians and health authorities in better identifying patients with COVID-19. The interview studies will provide valuable information regarding the infection control response during the epidemic as experienced from primary care and municipalities.

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HELSEVEL-Gode og effektive helse-, omsorgs- og velferdstjenester