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Research Projects in Family Medicine – What About the Medical Assistant’s View?

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2015.0073-0077

german translation / full article

Gudrun Theile, Eva Hummers-Pradier, Jutta Bleidorn, Ildikó Gágyor, Christina Költzsch

Keywords: Research Projects Family Practices Practice Nurses Qualitative Research Clinical Trials

Introduction: When research projects are conducted in family practices, medical assistants are often substantially involved. This study aims at depicting the experiences of the medical assistants involved in the realisation of a clinical trial concerning treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI).

Methods: Following the double-blind randomised drug trial HWI-01 (2007–2008), we conducted semi structured qualitative interviews with the involved medical assistants. The focus was on trial integration into practice routine, documentation duties, approach to patients, cooperation with the study team and personal benefit. The interviews were appraised by summarising content analysis.

Results: The 15 interviews with medical assistants showed clearly that it is possible to integrate research projects into practice routines. However, this implies an additional workload both for family physicians and medical assistants. Trial procedures adapted to the practice workflow contribute substantially to successful trial performance. A medical assistant-patient-relationship characterised by trust and confidence can promote patient recruitment; moreover, patients´ satisfaction with the trial is an important point for medical assistants. Cooperation on a par with the study team is appreciated. Many medical assistants reported a personal benefit by participation in a research project.

Discussion: For implementation of family practice based research projects, the integration of medical assistants represents a predictor of success. Involving medical assistants early, particularly in the planning of suitable trial workflows, can have a strong impact on successful trial performance.


(State: 19.02.2015)

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