Primary care can play a crucial role in preventing the progression of pre-existing conditions by targeting comprehensive care at individuals at high risk of poor outcomes if they become infected with COVID-19 or have been forced to delay seeking primary care. Based on the available evidence, the following groups are anticipated to be more likely to require hospitalization if infected with SARS-CoV-2 or if: adults 60+ years old and people with chronic conditions. In addition, older adults with mental illness, the homeless and those living in poverty are likely to find it more difficult to maintain social distancing, and are at high risk of infection. By providing proactive support to high risk patients we aim to reduce emotional distress associated with managing complex health conditions and unmet social needs during periods of disrupted access to services and supports.
The challenges surrounding COVID-19 has brought forth many changes to our healthcare system. This study provides an important opportunity to explore a data-driven, proactive approach to identifying patients at greatest risk during the pandemic and beyond, to help support patient’s biological psychological and social needs. As primary care is likely going to continue a mix of virtual and in-person care, we look forward to understanding how proactive engagement within a primary healthcare setting can help with this balance and improve the health of patients.