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The primary purpose of this study is to understand primary care practices’ perceived constraints to engaging in research from micro-, meso-, and macro-level perspectives.
Past research has spotlighted various barriers and hurdles that primary care practices face when attempting to engage in research efforts; yet a majority of this research has focused exclusively on micro- (physician-specific) and meso-level (practice-specific) factors. Minimal attention has been paid to the context – the more macro-level issues such as how these barriers relate to primary care practices’ role within the dominant payment/reimbursement model of US health-care system.
Semi-structured focus groups were conducted in five US practices, all owned by an independent academic medical center. Each had participated in at least one research study but were not part of a practice-based research network or affiliated with a medical school. Data were analyzed using NVIVO-9® by using a multistep coding process.
The perceived constraints offered by the participants echoed those featured in previous studies. Secondary analyses of the interconnected nature of these factors highlighted a valuable and sensitive ‘Flow’ that is evident at the individual, interaction, and organizational levels of primary care practice. Engaging in research appears to pose a significant threat to the outcomes of Flow (ie, revenue, patient health outcomes, and the overall well-being of the practice). It is posited that the risk of not meeting expected productivity-based outcomes, which appear to be dictated by current dominant reimbursement models, frames the overall process of research-related decision making in primary care. Within the funding/reimbursement models of the US health-care system, engaging in research does not appear to be advantageous for primary care practices.
Sociological approaches to psychological well-being are fundamentally different. The distinctive emphasis of sociological approaches is on how processes such as life events, social conditions, social roles, social structures, and cultural systems of meaning affect states of mind. Many sociologists study how social conditions affect levels of mental health. Most research that takes place in clinical settings examines particular types of mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Emile Durkheim's study, Suicide, is generally regarded as the first explicitly sociological study of mental health. Contemporary studies in the sociology of mental health confirm the importance of social integration as a fundamental cause of well-being. Social inequality relates not only to economic and work conditions but is also an aspect of all social institutions. Birth cohorts are another social influence that shapes mental health. Generational factors also affect general levels of well-being and distress.
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