The project inSIGHT, coordinated by a researcher from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (FMUP) and CINTESIS, will assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the adoption of digital technologies in primary health care, internationally.
“The pandemic has abruptly changed the reality of primary care. Within weeks, doctors were challenged to move from face-to-face consultations to digital solutions, such as the phone, video, and online technologies. We want to know what the impact of this transition is,” explains Ana Luísa Neves, from FMUP, CINTESIS, and Imperial College London.
Starting on June 1, the group will listen to primary care physicians through the application of an online survey. Participants will be invited to answer questions about adopting digital technologies before and during COVID-19 and perspectives on the post-pandemic future. Participation is confidential and anonymous.
According to Ana Luísa Neves, “the objective is to know the perspectives of family doctors and general practitioners who work in primary health care during the pandemic. We believe that we must listen to their experience to identify the main lessons to be learned for the future”.
The researcher, teacher, and family doctor believes that “digital technologies have the potential to improve efficiency and patient safety and to reduce health inequalities by increasing access to care”. However, they also represent a “new form of relationship between doctor and patient” and raise challenges such as allocating resources, improving infrastructure, training, and technical support, creating rules and regulations, among others.
For the official, “we have an ethical imperative to learn from this new reality and to use the opportunities we have to improve the care we provide”.
This study is led by the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) and it involves a team of more than 20 researchers from 16 partner institutions, including FMUP. Among the countries involved are, for now, Portugal, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Singapore, and the United States of America.