In 2003, out-of-hours (OOH) care in Belgium changed dramatically with the startup of the first General Practitioner Cooperative (Huisartsenwachtpost) in Antwerp.
Since that time, one of the research groups of CHA-ELIZA has been closely involved in research on OOH Primary Care. The doctoral thesis of Dr. Hilde Philips (2010) entitled 'Out-of-hours Primary Care in Belgium', was a first contribution to understanding in this topic.
Back then, collecting valid research data on patients using OOH services wasn’t an easy task. The quality and reliability of research was impacted upon by the diversity of caregivers, professional working in OOH primary care settings (pharmacists, specialist doctors in emergency departments and general practitioners) and the registration tools jeopardised qualitative and reliable research.
For this reason, CHA-ELIZA decided to apply for an FWO project in 2013, to finance the establishment and maintenance of a state-of-the-art research database on OOH care in Antwerp. In 2014, the funding was allocated by FWO as ‘medium scaled research infrastructure’ and the project was initiated.
Besides improving research on OOH care in Belgium, this project allows us to ameliorate the quality of data-entry. By doing so, the project not only serves as a scientific research, but also improves communication between care-givers, and this also benefits patients.
This project would not have been possible without the close collaboration with the Antwerp partners.