Background: During the pandemic, remote consultations have become the norm for assessing patients with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to decrease the risk of transmission. This has intensified the clinical uncertainty already experienced by primary care clinicians when assessing patients with suspected COVID-19 and has prompted the use of risk prediction scores, such as the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2), to assess severity and guide treatment. However, the risk prediction tools available have not been validated in a community setting and are not designed to capture the idiosyncrasies of COVID-19 infection. Objective: The objective of this study is to produce a multivariate risk prediction tool, RECAP-V1 (Remote COVID-19 Assessment in Primary Care), to support primary care clinicians in the identification of those patients with COVID-19 that are at higher risk of deterioration and facilitate the early escalation of their treatment with the aim of improving patient outcomes. Methods: The study follows a prospective cohort observational design, whereby patients presenting in primary care with signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be followed and their data linked to hospital outcomes (hospital admission and death). Data collection will be carried out by primary care clinicians in four arms: North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups (NWL CCGs), Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC), Covid Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS), and South East London CCGs (Doctaly platform). The study involves the use of an electronic template that incorporates a list of items (known as RECAP-V0) thought to be associated with disease outcome according to previous qualitative work. Data collected will be linked to patient outcomes in highly secure environments. We will then use multivariate logistic regression analyses for model development and validation. Results: Recruitment of participants started in October 2020. Initially, only the NWL CCGs and RCGP RSC arms were active. As of March 24, 2021, we have recruited a combined sample of 3827 participants in these two arms. CCAS and Doctaly joined the study in February 2021, with CCAS starting the recruitment process on March 15, 2021. The first part of the analysis (RECAP-V1 model development) is planned to start in April 2021 using the first half of the NWL CCGs and RCGP RSC combined data set. Posteriorly, the model will be validated with the rest of the NWL CCGs and RCGP RSC data as well as the CCAS and Doctaly data sets. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee on May 27, 2020 (Integrated Research Application System number: 283024, Research Ethics Committee reference number: 20/NW/0266) and badged as National Institute of Health Research Urgent Public Health Study on October 14, 2020. Conclusions: We believe the validated RECAP-V1 early warning score will be a valuable tool for the assessment of severity in patients with suspected COVID-19 in the community, either in face-to-face or remote consultations, and will facilitate the timely escalation of treatment with the potential to improve patient outcomes.
JMIR Research Protocols