Keywords: Practice-Based Research Networks, general medicine, primary care, research infrastructure
In the GP’s office, people of all ages receive longitudinal care for a wide range of medical conditions. However, there is a lack of well-founded answers for many relevant questions in general practice. Research results generated in controlled specialty settings are only partially transferable to patients in real-world practices. Doctors and their patients need better evidence – and clinical researchers need a vehicle to carry out research in primary care. Practice-based research networks serve as a bridge connecting the university and the general practice setting to find relevant evidence and to improve population health.
To strengthen the role of family medicine in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding 6 regional primary care research networks with one coordination office, joined within the Initiative of Practice-Based Research Networks – DESAM-ForNet. The funding period is limited to five years, and it is unclear what will happen afterwards. However, it is hoped to establish common standards within the Initiative to allow cross-network collaboration and to build a sustainable research infrastructure.
The 6 participating networks and the coordination office have been planned as autonomous projects. The challenge to develop a mutual base in research processes (as interoperability of the IT-infrastructure and common criteria for research readiness) is addressed in regular meetings and working groups. A steering committee as a central decision-making body for all matters of the Initiative has been implemented.
With common standards and interoperability between networks, a sustainable foundation for practice-based research will be created. The Initiative aims to accredit and qualify a total of 1700 research practices by the end of 2024.
With the German Initiative of Practice-Based Research Networks – DESAM-ForNet, we want to establish a sustainable infrastructure in the general practice setting enabling research that really matters to GPs and their patients.
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