Are Primary Care Practices Research Infrastructure?
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0317-0322german translation / full article
Summary: Research in general practice/family medicine is prospering. Family practices are increasingly interesting as setting or recruitment platform for research, for projects coordinated by academic departments of family medicine, but also for studies of other disciplines or interest groups. A growing number of studies crowds into practices – including some which are neither relevant nor suitable for this setting. Conducting research projects is not a part of family doctors’ health care mandate or daily routine. If family doctors are willing to support research actively they expect projects to be quality assured with regards to primary care relevance, appropriateness of methods, and feasibility in a practice setting. Professors of general practice/family medicine are responsible for research and teaching in their discipline, which includes the coordination and quality assurance of local practice based research. They are readily available for cooperation if consulted early enough for an active participation in designing projects. Supportive coordination of practice based research of other disciplines requires that the local academic institutions of general practice/family medicine approve of all projects targeting or involving family practices. Concerted planning and conduction of studies is much more likely to be successful than self-contained action. Practices committed to research should be used and treated with care – they represent a valuable infrastructure. Stable practice based research networks should be established in line with international models.