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Enhanced access but increased testing with virtual care: insights from a multinational survey
  1. Rebecca Kathleen Metcalfe1,
  2. Alexander Singer2,
  3. Lisa LaBine2,
  4. Lyricy Francis3,
  5. Wendy Levinson4
  1. 1Choosing Wisely Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Family Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  3. 3Canadian Institute for Health Information, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rebecca Kathleen Metcalfe, Choosing Wisely Canada, Toronto, ON M5B 1W8, Canada; rebecca.metcalfe{at}

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The COVID-19 pandemic led to a dramatic increase in virtual (ie, telephone, video) care in many countries, particularly in the primary care setting.1 Yet, the impact of this increase on actual clinical practice remains unclear. Experts have hypothesised that the growth in virtual care could lead to more1 or less2 low-value care. Similarly, recent studies in single healthcare systems suggest that timeliness of care delivered virtually may be better3 or no different4 than in-person care. As this increased use of virtual care is enduring, it is critical to understand the positive and negative practice implications of virtual care.

Here, we report the results of a representative, multinational survey of primary care physician perspectives on how virtual care changed their clinical practices. The Commonwealth Fund’s 2022 International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians reflects the experiences and perceptions of a nationally representative randomised sample of primary care physicians in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. The Commonwealth Fund developed and revised the questionnaire in collaboration with international partners. The samples of physicians were drawn from government or …

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  • Contributors WL designed the survey questions. WL and AS conceived of the paper topic. WL, AS, LL and RKM planned the manuscript. LF conducted analyses and contributed to methodological discussions. RKM drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript and provided revisions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.