Objectives This study explored the potential value of real-time information regarding respiratory tract infections (RTIs) circulating in the community by eliciting parent views on illustrative surveillance information and its possible impact on primary care consultations.
Design Semistructured interviews were conducted with parents of children (>3 months–15 years). Participants were presented with example information on circulating viruses, symptoms and symptom duration and asked about its potential impact on perceptions of child illness and management practices. Interviews were analysed using the framework method.
Setting Parents participating in a cohort study were selected purposefully using index of multiple deprivation and child age.
Participants 30 mothers of children (>3 months–15years).
Results Parents anticipated using the information to inform lay diagnoses particularly when child symptoms were severe and thought normal symptom duration awareness might extend the time prior to seeking medical advice, but it also may encourage consultations when symptoms exceed the given duration. The information was not expected to change consultation behaviour if parents felt their child needed a medical evaluation and they felt unable to manage the symptoms. Most parents felt that the information could provide reassurance that could reduce intention to consult, but some felt it could raise concerns, by heightening awareness of circulating viruses. Lastly, parents wanted advice about protecting children from circulating viruses and felt that general practitioners using the information to diagnose child RTIs with greater certainty was acceptable.
Conclusions Diverse responses to the surveillance information were elicited, and there was some support for the intended outcomes. This study has important implications for the design of interventions to modify consulting behaviour. Future piloting to measure behaviour change in response to infection surveillance information are needed.
- qualitative research
- infectious diseases
- comm child health
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Contributors JMK led this qualitative study by developing the study protocol including the topic guides, conducting the interviews, analysing the data and drafting the manuscript. ADH is the principal investigator of the EEPRIS Study and conceived of both the EEPRIS study and the infection surveillance intervention. ADH acted as advisor regarding the intervention and primary care aspects of the research. CC supervised this qualitative study. IL led the development of the example online infection surveillance information in collaboration with all coauthors. CC and ECA supported data collection and analysis. ECA supported the sampling of parents from the EEPRIS database and organised the PPI group. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding This research was partly funded by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at University of Bristol in partnership with Public Health England. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England. JMK is partly funded by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions and NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (CLAHRC West) at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. AH is funded by NIHR Research Professorship (NIHR6RP6026126012).
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval South West Frenchay Bristol Research Ethics Committee (reference: 15/SW/0264).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from Professor Alastair Hay on reasonable request.
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