News

RACGP Foundation awards new grants for COVID research


Doug Hendrie


5/08/2020 5:15:51 PM

The two grants have been awarded to GP researchers for their studies on different impacts of COVID-19 on general practice.

Danielle Mazza and Danielle Butler
Grant recipients Professor Danielle Mazza and Dr Danielle Butler.

Professor Danielle Mazza’s research will examine prioritising essential clinical services in general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic through an evaluation of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ guidance for the Australian context.
 
Dr Danielle Butler’s research will look at the introduction of temporary telehealth items on use and costs of GP services.
 
Professor Mazza told newsGP the grant would help her survey and interview GPs about her research topic.
 
‘I came across this issue around women’s health and essential services during COVID-19 and wondered what happens to issues like insertion and removal of long-acting removable contraceptives and abortion, which is very time sensitive,’ she said.
 
‘During lockdown when you go to telehealth, how do we prioritise these kinds of services, when there might be issues other than infectivity of patients, such as family violence or extreme family distress?
 
‘Women might have unplanned pregnancies in that context and can’t access services. That’s what drove me.
 
‘This may help GPs as they grapple with how to set up services in this scenario and what face-to-face services to offer, and on what basis you make these decisions.’
 
Dr Butler told newsGP her research would use a new resource connecting data from the Census to the Medicare Benefits Schedule to look at how individual use of telehealth and out-of-pocket costs change over the course of the pandemic.
 
‘Following the introduction of the temporary telehealth items, we’ll be looking at the patterns over time to see what impact telehealth has had, and [to see] if the pattern changes based on personal characteristics, age, gender and other characteristics,’ she said.

‘I’m a GP by training who has worked mostly in rural and remote areas. That made me interested in how services are delivered. I did my PhD using longitudinal data on different socioeconomic status areas in GP care. That’s where my research work has continued.’
 
Dr Butler is also anticipating the recent COVID-related expansion of telehealth will add to development of her research.
 
‘We’ve been wanting telehealth from a GP perspective for a long time, but it’s a major shift in the way general practice is delivered and we want to understand what impact it has had in its use and the impact the bulk-billing requirements have had on costs and services,’ she said.
 
‘What’s really nice about this grant is that it allows us to extend the work we’ve been doing to address a relevant current policy and clinical practice issue. It allows me to do this work and to collaborate with colleagues. It’s a stepping stone to understand the impact on telehealth on lots of different aspects of general practice.’
 
More information on the RACGP Foundation grants and awards 2020 is available on the RACGP website
 
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coronavirus COVID-19 RACGP Foundation research


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