Beliefs and practices among primary care physicians during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany): an observational study
SourceBMC Family Practice, 22, 1, (2021), article 86
Article / Letter to editor
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BMC Family Practice
SubjectRadboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic various ambulatory health care models (SARS-CoV-2 contact points: Subspecialised Primary Care Practices, Fever Clinics, and Special Places for Corona-Testing) were organised in a short period in Baden-Wuerttemberg, a region in Southern Germany. The aim of these SARS-CoV-2 contact points was to ensure medical treatment for patients with (suspected) and without SARS-CoV-2 infection. The present study aimed to assess the beliefs and practices of primary care physicians who either led a Subspecialised Primary Care Practice or a Primary Care Practice providing care as usual in Baden-Wuerttemberg during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was based on a paper-based questionnaire in primary care physicians during the first wave of the pandemic. Participants were identified via the web page of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians Baden-Wuerttemberg. The questionnaire was distributed in June and July 2020. It measured knowledge, practices, self-efficacy and fears towards SARS-CoV-2, using newly developed questions. Data was descriptively analysed. RESULTS: One hundred fifty-five participants (92 leads of SARS-CoV-2 contact points/ 63 leads of primary care practices) completed the questionnaire. Out of 92 leads of SARS-CoV-2 contact points 74 stated to lead n Subspecialised Primary Care Practices. About half participants of both groups did not fear an own infection with the novel virus (between 50.8% and 62.2%), however about 75% feared financial loss. Knowledge was gained using various sources; main sources were the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (between 82.5% and 83.8%) and the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (RKI) (between 88.9% and 95.9%). Leads of Subspecialised Primary Care Practice felt more confident to perform anamnestic/diagnostic procedures (p < 0.001). The same was found for the confidence level regarding decision-making concerning the further treatment (p < 0.001). Several prevention measures to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 were adopted. Subspecialised Primary Care Practice had treated on average more patients with (suspected) COVID-19 (mean 408.12) than primary care practices (mean 83.8) (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that the Subspecialised Primary Care Practice that were implemented during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic contributed containment of the pandemic. Leads of Subspecialised Primary Care Practice indicated that physical separation of patients with potential SARS-CoV-2 infection was easier compared to those who continued working in their own practice. Additionally, leads of Subspecialised Primary Care Practice felt more confident in dealing with patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study has been prospectively registered at the German Clinical Trial Register (DRKS00022224).
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