I have been thinking about the goals of primary care research networks. One of them is to engage members. In a recent discussion at the CFPC section of researchers, we named three roles in a network:
researchers – people developing the grants, studies, running the analyses, writing the papers.
collaborators – practitioners and patients who are involved in setting priorities, engaging in performing the research and providing access to information to help answer the questions.
users – people who consume the information generated from the network. These can be people in the network and outside the network.
An individual could play all three roles, of course. It could be that I am researcher in one project, collaborating on two more that interest me (by contributing questions, parts of answers), and being a user of findings from all the other research.
Most providers today are knowledge users. Members of research networks are collaborators.
How to increase the number of collaborators?
Networks are one – intel decrease the barriers to contributing and they can help to shift the culture to collaborative research. I am interested in this space as well as supporting people becoming contributors.
Restructuring medical practices so that the environment facilitates the collaborator role. The medical home concept can provide the structure and space for groups to act as collaborators in generating and validating knowledge. In Canada, the medical home is becoming a bigger push and it has a clear goal related to research: ([from the CFPC](http://www.cfpc.ca/uploadedFiles/Resources/Resource_Items/PMH_A_Vision_for_Canada.pdf))
Goal 8: Patients’ Medical Homes will serve as ideal sites for training medical students, family medicine residents, and those in other health professions, as well as for carrying out family practice and primary care research.
How do we support (and evaluate) this goal? How to include PBRN connectivity into this goal? It would be interesting to have requirements for medical homes to include engagement in a network. Further, aligning QI activities and leveraging action research methods that directly improve the lives of the collaborators are also helpful in engaging.