Regional management of the COVID pandemic in Germany: A nation-wide survey among general practitioners

Manuela Schmidt, Anika Thielmann, Simon Kugai, Nicola Amarell, Katrin Balzer, Daniela Eggers, Linda Gärtner, Pascal Nohl-Deryk, Angelina Müller, Beate Müller, Birgitta Weltermann

Keywords: general practice; pandemic management; pandemic preparedness

The COVID pandemic is a challenge necessitating pandemic management on all levels of the health care system. The current German national pandemic plan lacks detail for regional management. A revision is vital to general practitioners who play a key role, as 6 of 7 COVID patients in Germany are treated ambulatory. In Germany, different regional structures and processes, such as COVID practices, diagnostic centers, COVID taxis, and COVID home care teams, were developed to better serve the needs posed by the pandemic as well as to maintain regular patient care. International studies show that adaptable primary care is essential to meet pandemic demands and that implemented strategies in general practices have a high influence on local infection rates. The study is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education.

Research questions:
To identify the experiences of general practitioners across Germany with existing and new health care structures and processes during the pandemic.

The web-based questionnaire addresses general practitioners’ experiences with regional pandemic management: newly implemented structures and processes, both for patient care and general interactions, communication and cooperation with partners in the health care system, usage and need for pandemic information, personal burden, own capacity for pandemic decision-making, and lessons learned. The questionnaire is pretested among general practitioners from two primary care teaching institutions. The survey is distributed nationwide among German general practitioners. For assessment, standardized instruments such as the net promotor score, adapted to include topics of pandemic plan and clinical governance frameworks are applied.

The survey will be conducted in February 2021. Results will be available at the congress.

The results will be used to support the revision of the German national pandemic plan.

Points for discussion: