Future Directions for Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs): A CERA Survey

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Background:Thought leaders from family medicine and practice-based research networks (PBRNs) have put forth definitions and goals recommending future directions for PBRNs. Evidence demonstrating that PBRNs are acting in accordance with these trends supports future investment in PBRN infrastructure, funding, and training of clinician researchers. Our objective was to explore the alignment of PBRN research efforts with thought leader recommendations.Methods:The 2017 Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance surveyed PBRN directors via emails to 126 respondents. This survey included 6 general background questions about PBRN characteristics. An additional 25 questions focused on current and future research directions, including the training of health care professionals about PBRN research.Results:The survey response rate was 56/126 (44%). Physician faculty receive continuing medical education credit for PBRN training (reported by 12/56 of PBRN directors). PBRN provided continuing medical education for study participation (24/56), reviewing study results (7/56), attending a study results presentation (24/56), and attending study planning meetings (13/56). Practice-based research education of medical students and residents was reported at 11/56 and 14/56, respectively. Current PBRN research efforts were most frequent in the areas of community engagement, practice transformation, and quality improvement projects.Conclusion:PBRNs currently thrive on conducting research predominantly in quality improvement and practice transformation. However, the study findings suggest that moving forward, PBRNs should participate more in training the future generations of primary care researchers and to address health policy needs.

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