Response of general practitioners to infectious disease public health crises: an integrative systematic review of the literature

Marina Kunin, Dan Engelhard, Leon Piterman, Shane Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has identified gaps in pandemic response planning for primary care. Identifying the challenges that general practitioners (GPs) face during public health crises of infectious diseases will help to improve prepandemic planning. In this integrative systematic review, we identified research-based evidence to (1) challenges that GPs have when participating in pandemics or epidemics and (2) whether GPs from different countries encountered different challenges. Methods A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses databases during October to November 2012 to identify studies relevant to experience by GPs during epidemics or pandemics. Results Six quantitative, 2 mixed method, and 2 qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria. The challenges identified were not exclusive to specific countries and encompassed different responses to outbreaks. These challenges included difficulties with information access; supply and use of personal protective equipment; performing public health responsibilities; obtaining support from the authorities; appropriate training; and the emotional effects of participating in the response to an infectious disease with unknown characteristics and lethality. Conclusion GPs response to public health crises in different countries presents potential for improving pandemic preparedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522 - 533
Number of pages12
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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