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Publication - Dr Christie Cabral

    Parent views on the content and potential impact of respiratory tract infection surveillance information

    semi-structured interviews to inform future research


    Kesten, J, Anderson, E, Lane, I, Hay, A & Cabral, C, 2017, ‘Parent views on the content and potential impact of respiratory tract infection surveillance information: semi-structured interviews to inform future research’. BMJ Paediatrics Open , vol 1.


    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.

    Semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents of children (>3months-15years). 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.

    Parents participating in a cohort study were selected purposefully using index of multiple deprivation and child age.

    30 mothers of children (>3months-15years).
    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 which 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 GPs using the information to diagnose child RTIs with greater certainty was acceptable.

    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.

    Full details in the University publications repository