In the wake of COVID-19 primary care practices have had to overcome and to adapt to several challenges in providing quality care. An international consortium led by Ghent University, Belgium, set up the PRICOV-19 project to study how primary care practices in 38 countries responded to the new challenges.

The aim of the study was to describe how Covid-19 impacted the organisation of primary care practices in rural and urban environments in Poland, including the organisation of patient flows, infection prevention, information processing, and communication.

Material and methods:
This is cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey among primary care practices. In Poland, the survey was distributed among primary care practices in 16 Polish regions. 180 practices participated in the study. In the analysis of the data U-Mann Whitney or t-test for independent groups, and Wilcoxon test were used to compare the organisation of care before and since the pandemic.

Over two-thirds of practices made considerable changes in their structure due to COVID-19; over three-quarters introduced security procedures for phone registrations, but only a quarter still offered consultations without a prior appointment. The use of video consultation quadrupled, and teleconsultations became almost universal. Rural practices were significantly more likely to offer active care for deprived patient groups. A significant increase in infection prevention measures occurred in both urban and rural practices.

COVID-19 brought challenges that spurred changes to the organisation of primary care practices as they sought to continue offering quality care. Despite these hardships, new opportunities for effective changes to clinical operations and organization have emerged and will benefit global health systems in the face of new crises.

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