Observational cross-sectional design. A web-based survey was deployed to IPC providers working in team-based primary care clinics in the province of Ontario, Canada. The survey included 26 close-ended and six open-ended questions. Close-ended questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Content analysis was used to analyze the open-ended questions.
445 surveys were included in the final analysis. Service delivery shifted from in-person care (77% pre-COVID-19) to telephone (76.5% during the COVID-19 pandemic). Less than half of the respondents (40%) reported receiving any training for virtual delivery. Wait times to access team members were reported to have decreased. There has also been a shift in what IPC providers report as the most commonly seen conditions, with increases in visits related to mental health concerns, acute infections (including COVID-19), social isolation, and resource navigation. Respondents also reported a reduction in healthcare provision for multiple chronic conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pain.
IPC teams are rapidly shifting their practice to supporting their patients during the pandemic. A surge in mental health issues has been seen and is expected to continue to increase in response to COVID-19. Understanding early experiences can help plan for future pandemic waves.