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Implement Sci. 2010 Oct 14;5:76. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-5-76.

Collaborative research between clinicians and researchers: a multiple case study of implementation.

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1
South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (SC MIRECC), Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, 2200 Fort Roots Drive, Building 58, North Little Rock, AR 72114, USA. cnedlund@uams.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bottom-up, clinician-conceived and directed clinical intervention research, coupled with collaboration from researcher experts, is conceptually endorsed by the participatory research movement. This report presents the findings of an evaluation of a program in the Veterans Health Administration meant to encourage clinician-driven research by providing resources believed to be critical. The evaluation focused on the extent to which funded projects: maintained integrity to their original proposals; were methodologically rigorous; were characterized by collaboration between partners; and resulted in sustained clinical impact.

METHODS:

Researchers used quantitative (survey and archival) and qualitative (focus group) data to evaluate the implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of four clinical demonstration projects at four sites. Fourteen research center mentors and seventeen clinician researchers evaluated the level of collaboration using a six-dimensional model of participatory research.

RESULTS:

Results yielded mixed findings. Qualitative and quantitative data suggested that although the process was collaborative, clinicians' prior research experience was critical to the quality of the projects. Several challenges were common across sites, including subject recruitment, administrative support and logistics, and subsequent dissemination. Only one intervention achieved lasting clinical effect beyond the active project period. Qualitative analyses identified barriers and facilitators and suggested areas to improve sustainability.

CONCLUSIONS:

Evaluation results suggest that this participatory research venture was successful in achieving clinician-directed collaboration, but did not produce sustainable interventions due to such implementation problems as lack of resources and administrative support.

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