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Gen Dent. 2010 Nov-Dec;58(6):520-8.

Change in stated clinical practice associated with participation in the Dental Practice-Based Research Network.

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Department of General Dental Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA.


Clinical researchers have attempted many methods to translate scientific evidence into routine clinical practice, with varying success. Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) provide an important, practitioner-friendly venue to test these methods. Dentist practitioner-investigators from the Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) completed a detailed questionnaire about how they diagnose and treat dental caries. Next, they received a customized report that compared their answers to those from all other practitioner-investigators. Then, 126 of them attended the DPBRN's first network-wide meeting of practitioner-investigators from all five of its regions. During that meeting, certain questions were repeated and new ones were asked about the dentist's intention to change the way that he or she diagnosed or treated dental caries. Less than one-third of practitioner-investigators intended to change how they diagnosed or treated caries as a result of receiving the customized report. However, as a result of the meeting, the majority of these same practitioner-investigators stated an intention to change toward a more conservative, less surgically invasive approach. These findings are consistent with the idea that a highly interactive meeting with fellow practitioner-investigators may be an effective means to translate scientific findings into clinical practice. Practitioner-investigators are open to changing how they treat patients as a result of engaging fellow practitioner-investigators in the scientific process.

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