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Acute respiratory tract infections and use of out-of-hours GP cooperatives

The project analyzes how people with acute respiratory tract infections use the out-of-hours general practitioners’ (GP) cooperatives in Norway, and factors associated with antibiotic prescribing in this part of the health care service. It specifically looks at nurses’ role in phone triage of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) and its consequence on busyness in the out-of-hours cooperatives.

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Foto: Bent Håkan Lindberg


  1. To explore how phone triage nurses assess callers with mild-to-moderate symptoms of ARTIs and their views and experiences on triaging and counselling these callers
  2. To investigate whether a clinical training program on ARTIs for phone triage nurses can impact the number of consultations in the out-of-hours GP cooperatives


  1. A qualitative study with focus group interviews with 22 nurses working in out-of-hours GP cooperatives.
  2. A randomized, controlled trial with 32 out-of-hours GP cooperatives who receive a training program, and 32 controls. The training program will focus on clinical and communication skills, aiming at improving the quality of the phone triage for acute respiratory tract infections. The primary outcome will be the number of ARTI consultations during the winter season before and after the intervention in all the 64 cooperatives, covering 62 % of the Norwegian population


The primary care out-of-hours service prescribe 20 % of all antibiotics for ARTIs in Norwegian Primary Health Care. In a former study, we have shown that antibiotic prescribing is significantly higher during busy sessions. In most out-of-hours GP cooperatives, nurses perform phone triage, deciding which callers who need to see a doctor out-of-hours, hence influencing how busy each session will be for the doctors.


The Norwegian Research Fund for General Practice.


National Centre for Emergency Primary Health Care, NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bergen.

Start – Finish

2018 - 2024

Selected publications

Lindberg, B. H., Gjelstad, S., Foshaug, M., & Hoye, S. (2017). Antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections in Norwegian primary care out-of-hours service. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 35(2), 178-185. doi:10.1080/02813432.2017.1333301

Published Jan. 21, 2021 1:48 PM - Last modified Jan. 22, 2021 8:20 AM