Providing evidence based answers to first hand COVID and respiratory questions from the IPCRG Sentinel Network of practising primary care clinicians: A novel service report.

16 May 2023

Introduction: The IPCRG iQ&A service was set up to help primary care practitioners dealing with a fast changing, high pressure environment during the COVID pandemic. COVID advice focused mainly on hospital care. Therefore, we created a real world, real time method for evidence-based answers to questions sourced from a global primary care Sentinel Network. 

Aims: To understand the right questions to answer, based on front line input, and to develop and produce usable answers to help primary care practitioners make decisions on their immediate priorities in their daily work. 

Methods: A novel process created by the working group defined an algorithm for the information flow from question identification, research, review by an Answer Review Group to publishing. This was refined in a pilot project which ran in 2020. In 2021 the iQ&A service launched. The IPCRG Sentinel Network was set up simultaneously to listen and respond to over 120 primary care clinicians representing every continent. 

Results: By January 2023, 190 questions were raised, prioritised and 51 answers provided. Over 15,000 views of the iQ&A webpages have been recorded to January 2022. Half of these were for the top 10 answers, which saw 1,800 downloads, 47% European and 30% Asian views. Vaccine efficacy and COVID Comorbidities were the most popular themes. 

Conclusions: Providing up to date evidence based information to answer specific important questions about new issues helps primary practitioners do their work. Our initial focus is on managing COVID-19 in primary care settings. We will also include more respiratory conditions in the near future.

Resource information

Respiratory conditions
  • COVID-19
Type of resource
Munich 2023
Neil Fitch 2, Alan Kaplan 1, Fiona Mosgrove 3, Janwillem Kocks 4, Jaime Correia de Sousa 5, Ee-Ming Khoo 6, Karin Lisspers 7, Tiago Maricoto 8, Ioanna Tsiligianni 9, Tracey Lonergan 2, Siân Williams 2 1 Family Physician Airways Group of Canada, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 2 The International Primary Care Respiratory Group, Edinburgh, UK, Edinburgh, UK, 3 Newburn medical group, Aberdeen, UK, 4 General Practitioners Research Institute, Groningen, The Netherlands, 5 ICVS/3B's Associate Laboratory, Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Medicine, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, 6 Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 7 Dept of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, 8 Beira Ria Family Health Unit, Ílhavo Health Center, Aveiro, Portugal, 9 Department of Social Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece