Thursday 26 November 2020 2:26pm
In this study Dr Carol Atmore and Tim Stokes looked at how patients consulted with their general practice in one city-based general practice during the first 2 weeks of Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown, and compared it to the same fortnight period of the previous year.
While similar numbers of patients consulted with the practice in both years, there was a large difference in how patients consulted with their general practice.
During COVID-19 lockdown, eight in ten patient contacts where done via telephone, whereas in 2019 only three in ten contacts were by phone, with the rest being in-person at the practice.
Most acute illnesses, accident-related and long-term health condition-related consultations were able to be provided by phone, but most prevention-related consultations, such as immunisations, needed to be face-to-face.
This is the first detailed analysis of general practice patient consultation patterns in New Zealand in response to COVID-19, and follow-up and larger studies would be worthwhile to monitor changes in consultation patterns as COVID-19 continues and beyond.
Repeating this study and involving more practices would be useful to track these trends as COVID-19 continues and beyond.
Turning on a dime – pre- and post-COVID-19 consultation patterns in an urban general practice
The New Zealand Medical Journal