by Chloë Gamlin, GP Academic Clinical Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
Attending the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) conference for the first time proved to be an enriching experience, offering a diverse array of presentations and discussions at the forefront of primary care. Held at the Hilton in downtown San Francisco, the conference brought together healthcare providers and researchers from across the globe.
The opening plenary by Professor Ed Maibach underscored the role of primary care physicians in addressing climate change, emphasizing their potential to provide unbiased information. Another plenary, led by Professor Diana Greene Foster, delved into the intersection of politics and healthcare, focusing on the recent changes to US abortion law. The emotional session highlighted the resilience of healthcare professionals in supporting women’s health issues, despite differing opinions.
Distinguished papers presented in the morning sessions covered topics ranging from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) treatment to COVID-19 complications prediction tools and opioid prescribing. A notable presentation by Professor Hazel Everitt discussed the ATLANTIS trial, demonstrating the effectiveness of low-dose amitriptyline for IBS and emphasizing the importance of clear communication in patient care.
The final plenary delved into the future of healthcare, specifically the use of AI. The discussion raised questions about the ethical considerations surrounding AI in healthcare, emphasizing the need for a unified framework to guide its development and application.
Breakout sessions provided an opportunity to explore various topics, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, acute care, obesity, exercise, nutrition, screening, and health promotion. The author attended sessions related to their interests in the transition from acute to chronic care, lifestyle changes, and preventative measures.
Key highlights from the breakout sessions included the OCHIN Study’s findings on virtual vs face-to-face follow-up for cardiovascular patients, challenging traditional models of care. The session on acute care introduced the concept of pharmacogenomics, prompting discussions on the utility of an annual physical exam and the complexities of patient journeys in healthcare utilization.
A dedicated forum on addressing structural health inequalities showcased initiatives like the Our Care project in Canada and the Scottish Deep End GP programme. The session facilitated rich discussions on urban vs rural healthcare challenges and provided international perspectives, particularly from New Zealand.
I presented work on bereavement care in general practice (in progress), engaging in discussions with colleagues from around the world. The conference offered a platform to exchange ideas, with insights into diverse healthcare systems and the challenges faced by clinicians globally.
In conclusion, the NAPCRG conference provided a comprehensive and inspiring platform to engage with a broad spectrum of topics within primary care. The international perspective, coupled with diverse discussions, contributed to a valuable and encouraging experience, highlighting the supportive nature of the academic community.