IT-Infrastructure for Supporting the North Rheine-Westphalian General Practice Research Network (NRW.GPRN): Results from the Pilot Study

Arezoo Bozorgmehr, Simon-Konstantin Thiem, Christiane Stieber, Birgitta Weltermann

Keywords: General Practice Research Network, Primary Health Care, IT/eHealth, IT-Supported GP network

In contrast to countries such as Netherlands, Sweden, England, and Denmark, research in German primary care is hardly established. In the context of the publicly funded program "Establishment of a sustainable network structure for research practices to strengthen general practice", the North Rhine-Westphalian General Practice Research Network (NRW.GPRN) is developed. It aims to implement clinical and epidemiological studies in general practices. The network is supported by an IT communication structure, which allows for communication not only with 520 GP practices and 8 institutes for family medicine but also with other service providers such as hospitals.

Research questions:
The feasibility of the IT communication structure of NRW.GPRN project is evaluated in a pilot study.

We are conducting a physician questionnaire survey as a pilot study, which addresses three issues:
1. GPs´ experiences with vaccinations, especially against SARS-CoV-2
2. GPs´ interest in various kinds of research studies
3. GP´s usability of the new IT-infrastructure of NRW.GPRN
This pilot study is conducted in 8 to 10 general practices that are affiliated with the Institute for Family Medicine and General Practice, University of Bonn. The framework FallAkte Plus will be employed to gather data and stored on a TÜV-level-3 certified server. We use strong encryption to transfer the data from practices to the server, where it will be aggregated. A comprehensive data protection concept is implemented.

We will present the results of the pilot study at the conference.

This study presents the new IT-Infrastructure for NRW.GPRN, also for potential European collaborations.

Points for discussion:
What are your experiences with research networks in primary care?

What are your experiences with IT support for research in family medicine practices?