Primary care practices that take part in research networks report benefits beyond the study itself
Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366
Participating in a study conducted by a practice-based research network (PBRN) does more than help evaluate a treatment or intervention, a new study concludes. Based on telephone interviews with doctors, nurses, and other staff at practices participating in a study of postpartum depression (PPD), the researchers found six areas of change in the practices. They included:
- A more systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment in general.
- Increased effectiveness of teamwork and communication.
- Adapting and extending the structured tools used in the PPD study to the care of other patients with chronic disease.
- Greater feelings of professional self-worth, combined with increased community recognition of the practice.
- Added opportunity and support for practice staff to move into new roles or learn new skills.
- Increased understanding of research and its benefits.
After study participations, practices made increased use of nurses to make follow-up calls to patients, adapted the PPD study's tools to the management of all patients with depression, and appreciated how new knowledge can be created by independent primary care practices working together. Half way through a 3-year trial comparing usual care for PPD with standardized, two-step screening and a recommended therapy and follow-up program, the researchers interviewed 27 family physicians and 21 other clinical staff at 28 practices about their participation in the trial. The study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS14744).
More details are in "Practice benefit from participating in a practice-based research network study of post-partum depression: A National Research Network report," by Barbara P. Yawn, M.D., M.Sc., Wilson Pace, M.D., Allen Dietrich, M.D., and others in the July/August 2010 Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 23(4); pp. 455-464.