OPC Launch COVID-19 Quality Improvement Programme

Cambridge, UK, 1st September 2020 –

OPC Launches COVID-19 Quality Improvement Programme for NHS Primary Care Providers across the UK

Optimum Patient Care (OPC) has announced the launch of its novel, free of charge COVID-19 Quality Improvement Programme for NHS Primary Care Providers across the UK. The Programme is developed in partnership with leading academics and practitioners to support the NHS and GPs dealing with the pandemic. It provides analysis and collation of accurate data about  patients with COVID-19, and those affected by lockdown, as well as provision of advice in accordance with current guidelines on how to best use resources available to them to catch up with non-COVID-19 issues.

The programme is funded and delivered by OPC Quality Improvement Service, a non-for-profit social enterprise that already provides quality improvement services to over 700 GP practices in the UK.

Benefits to GPs:

  • Collation of high quality information on the status of COVID-19 in the practice using patients’ responses to purposely developed COVID-19 questionnaires and existing health records (EHR);
  • Identification of patient level data of those at risk, the results of COVID-19 tests and patients’ symptoms related to COVID-19 whether clinically diagnosed or not;
  • Recommendations for patient management based on published guidance for those at risk, including advice on COVID-19 avoidance, optimum management of their co-morbid condition(s) and for those with symptoms, details of the nature of and duration along with suggestions on management.

The programme requires minimal effort and resources from participating GP practices, who are assisted with:

  • Secure remote EHR data collection from their clinical systems (e.g. EMIS, Vision, SystmOne)
  • Mailing SMS invitations to their patients to complete an online COVID-19 questionnaire that was created by clinical and scientific experts.

Benefits to CCGs:

Collated practice data will allow a focused, flexible response to the pandemic as it evolves.

Planners at practice, CCG and national levels will be able to prepare strategies in line with the Third Phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 strategies, which is being implemented since August 2020:

  • Continue to support patients who have recovered from the acute phase of COVID-19, but need ongoing rehabilitation and other community health services;
  • Protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19, with enhanced analysis and better engagement of those communities who need most support;
  • Accelerate preventive programmes, which proactively engage those at greatest risk of poor health outcomes;
  • Restore activity to usual levels where clinically appropriate, and reach out proactively to clinically vulnerable patients and those whose care may have been delayed;
  • Ensure datasets are complete and timely, to underpin an understanding of and response to inequalities.

Progress

Many practices and some CCGs are already looking to sign up. During the pilot phase OPC had an excellent response from patients who were invited to complete the questionnaire. From the received patients’ feedback, it is emerged that majority of symptomatic people have not been tested or consulted a doctor. Some have had prolonged and serious symptoms for months without seeing health professional.

The full scientific analysis of received patient feedback, portraying the real situation in communities, will follow soon.

For further details and information about participation in the Programme can be requested from OPC at info@optimumpatientcare.org.

On behalf of Prof David Price (University of Aberdeen) and the Steering Committee:

Prof Hilary Pinnock (University of Edinburgh, AUKCAR), Sir Prof Lewis Ritchie, OBE (University of Aberdeen), Dr Dermot Ryan (University of Edinburgh, EAACI), Dr Katherine Hickman (PCRS, Bradford/Leeds), Dr Rupert Jones (University of Plymouth), Prof Salman Siddiqui (University of Leicester), Dr David Jackson (King’s College London), Prof Steven Julious, Dr Phil Oliver, Dr Rebecca Simpson, Dr Jen Lewis (University of Sheffield), Prof Ian Pavord (University of Oxford), Tony Megaw, Pam Young (Wellbeing Software), Prof David Halpin (Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, NICE, GOLD), Victoria Carter (OPRI), Prof Kamlesh Khunti (University of Leicester, NIHR ARC), Steve Davis (Interface Clinical Services), Prof Stephen Holgate (University of Southampton, MRC).

The Health Experts, who endorsed COVID-19 QI Programme, say:

Prof Stephen Holgate (University of Southampton, MRC Clinical Professor)

“The UK must prepare now for a potential second wave of coronavirus infections that could be more serious than the first. Combined with the disruptions to our health service by COVID-19, and a backlog of patients needing NHS care assessment and treatment, intense preparation is urgently needed to reduce the risk of the health service being overwhelmed and to save lives this winter. This platform will support practices to prepare and provide adequate care for their patients in the coming months.”

 Dr Dermot Ryan (GP, University of Edinburgh, AUKCAR, EAACI, Respiratory Effectiveness Group)

Dr Dermot Ryan, an experienced health researcher and GP who has recently returned to practice to support patient care during the pandemic said:  “The impact of COVID-19 caught us unawares the first time round. This is our opportunity to prepare for the second wave, so that we are not overwhelmed and are able to provide adequate care to patients. Participating in this programme will increase the ability of GP practices to be prepared. Planning and preparation is vital to combating COVID-19.”

Dr Katherine Hickman (GP, Clinical Respiratory Lead for NHS Bradford & Leeds, PCRS – Vice Chair)

Dr Katherine Hickman, GP and Clinical Respiratory Lead for Braford and Leeds said:  “There is so much we still do not know about COVID-19 and we are learning new things about it as every week passes. This is why I have encouraged the adoption of this novel COVID-19 quality improvement programme in my practice so that we are informed in how we develop future management pathways and continue to support our ongoing learning through substantive primary care data.”

Prof David Price (University of Aberdeen, Observational & Pragmatic Research Institute, ERS, ISAR, REG)

“Accurate real-world data is urgently required at this stage in the pandemic. It is essential that we invest in the development of a primary care platform that can aid the efficient delivery of patient care improvement, observational research, clinical trials, and vaccine dissemination. The platform will support our patient needs today and in the future.”

Dr Rupert Jones (University of Plymouth, Observational & Pragmatic Research Institute)

“Primary care data is essential to help patients now and in the future. We need to find those at risk, provide accurate guideline-based advice. For the second wave, better understanding is required about who is actually at risk, are there useful strategies to reduce risk such as medication (e.g. do inhaled steroids protect the lungs from COVID-19?).”