Remote-by-Default Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic: addressing the challenges of a radical new service model
The successfully awarded research project through a rapid funding call by Health Data Research UK, Office for National Statistics and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is led by Trisha Greenhalgh (University of Oxford). The research project is building on existing UKRI and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) work to use national data to answer this key COVID-19 research question.
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Most people who get COVID-19 are treated by their General Practitioners (GPs) virtually, via a phone call, or over the internet while they are at home. This help takes the pressure off the hospitals. However, it can be hard for GPs to always know when a person with COVID-19 is getting sicker because not everyone gets the same symptoms.
Remote-by-Default project is working to help GPs and nurses to improve the care they can give to patients and improve recovery and health outcomes from COVID-19. Gathering information from GPs and nurses and patients recovered from COVID-19, we initially identified a list of symptoms including breathlessness or muscle pain, that could be linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes such as needing to go to hospital.
Based on these symptoms, the RECAP (Remove COVID-19 Assessment in Primary Care) project aims to develop an early warning score, which is a tool that GPs and nurses can use to identify patients who have COVID-19 and are getting sicker and need to go to hospital. Currently available early warning scores to identify how severe a disease is cannot be used remotely and require face-to-face consultations. The RECAP early warning score will work remotely, through a telephone or video consultations with GPs, and then links to outcomes, such as hospital admissions. It helps GPs get an early warning when their patients condition might get worse and allow their treatment to begin earlier, which will hopefully improve COVID-19 patients’ outcomes.