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Evaluating the impact of a digitally deployed, GP remote consultation video to reduce opioid prescribing in primary care

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Evaluating the impact of an evidence informed, digitally deployed, GP remote consultation video intervention that aims to reduce opioid prescribing in primary care (2022-2023)

Funder: NHS Insights Prioritisation Programme (NIPP), £275,000

EM lead: Yu Fu

Overall PI: Julia Newton, Cormac Ryan

Other ARC members: Tracy Finch, Alan Batterham, Denis Martin, Paula Whitty, Chris Price, Eileen Kaner

Other members: Ben Allen, Nick Hex, Niki Jones

About this study

During the pandemic, a novel process was developed by a GP in Yorkshire to remotely explain reasons for reduced opioid use and initiate support, targeted at patients identified as prescribed high levels of opioids. A short video suitable for smartphone viewing is messaged using a two-way communication system. Patients can watch the video more than once, and request additional support by replying with a simple text or email response.

This joint project by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria (NENC) aims to evaluate the potential benefits, risks, and costs of an evidence informed, digitally deployed, GP remote consultation video intervention. With the evidence, this digital remote intervention will be embedded into existing opiate reduction measures across the NENC Integrated Care System.

How it will be carried out

The study team are undertaking a mixed methods study comprising of a quasi-experimental non-randomised before (baseline) and after (month 6) study (phase 1) and qualitative interviews (phase 2). In phase 1, a total of 100 GP practices in the region will be involved: 50 on the intervention arm to send the video message and 50 on the control arm to continue their routine care. Monthly practice level data will be accessed and followed up for 6 months to estimate the association between the exposure (video message vs. control) and the outcome (opioid prescribing). In phase 2, a small group of patients who received the video and health professionals involved in sending out the videos will be interviewed, to understand patient and health professional experiences and factors impacting upon the delivery and success of the intervention.

As well as evidence and rapid insights to inform the potential accelerated implementation of the intervention within the Integrated Care System, this study will provide evidence that could underpin the future adoption of the intervention into wide scale clinical management that can be disseminated as a future national programme via the Academic Health Science Network.

For more information, please email Dr Yu Fu, yu.fu@newcastle.ac.uk