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.
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.