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The case for multidisciplinary research in primary care

  • A.S. Raghunath (a1) and A. Innes (a1)

Abstract

In this paper we attempt to explore the meaning, understanding, usefulness and reality of multidisciplinary research in primary care and provide examples. We debate the issues around roles of people in multidisciplinary research, the value of such research and its application to patient care. We also discuss the perceived threats and opportunities to multidisciplinary research, possible reasons for such perceptions, funding, and research governance, education and training issues. We then go on to consider the emerging relationship between primary care organizations (PCOs) and primary care research teams. We specifically address the activities of research general practices and their implications in terms of contributing to multidisciplinary research and training. We question the traditional model of academic research; raise awareness and need for grassroots primary care research and the importance of capacity building through a multidisciplinary model. We have tried to suggest examples and models of multidisciplinary research that can be seamless, include a range of practices and health professionals, and performs research that is contextual, pragmatic and directly beneficial to patients. We feel that for a successful multidisciplinary research workforce in primary care to become a reality, several key areas need to be addressed. Perhaps the most important of these may involve a conceptual change in thinking by all concerned in that we believe that research in primary care should become an integral part of routine primary care in the same way as health professionals routinely see patients or conduct audits. This could, however, only happen if there is commitment, support and a vision for the future of primary care research from decision makers. Local research networks and PCOs need to work closely together in identifying, nurturing and maintaining multidisciplinary research interest.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr A.S. Raghunath, St Andrews Group Practice, Marmaduke St Health Centre, Hull and Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Hull, UK. Email: Raghu@nath.freeserve.co.uk

Keywords

The case for multidisciplinary research in primary care

  • A.S. Raghunath (a1) and A. Innes (a1)

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