Intended for healthcare professionals


Practice based primary care research networks

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 10 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:567

They work and are ready for full development and support

  1. Larry A Green, director,
  2. Susan M Dovey, analyst
  1. Robert Graham Center, Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care, 2023 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20036, USA

    Primary care p 588

    Practice based research networks are research laboratories as essential to advancing the scientific understanding of medical care as bench laboratories are to advancing knowledge in the basic sciences. The medical establishment has been slow to realise patients' needs for a robust research enterprise in family practice and primary care. But a paper in this week's BMJ adds to evidence that research networks in primary care have come of age and deserve sustained support (p 588).1

    For much of the past century the prevailing view was that the problems faced in family practice could be resolved by research carried out by others in other settings. The failure to implement research findings in daily practice raised some researchable questions about knowledge transfer, but it did not engender a spirit of excitement about the research needs and opportunities intrinsic to family practice. The notion that there were important questions, fundamental to the origins of health and disease, that could be investigated best or only in family practice proved elusive.

    Countries rich enough …

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