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Eur J Gen Pract. 2010 Dec;16(4):244-8. doi: 10.3109/13814788.2010.528385.

Series: The research agenda for general practice/family medicine and primary health care in Europe. Part 5: Needs and implications for future research and policy.

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Department of Primary and Interdisciplinary Care, University of Antwerp, Belgium.


The recently published 'Research Agenda for General Practice/Family Medicine and Primary Health Care in Europe' summarizes the evidence relating to the core competencies and characteristics of the Wonca Europe definition of GP/FM, and highlights related needs and implications for future research and policy. The European Journal of General Practice publishes a series of articles based on this document. In a first article, background, objectives, and methodology were discussed. In three subsequent, articles the results for the six core competencies of the European Definition of GP/FM were presented. This article formulates the common aims for further research and appropriate research methodologies, based on the missing evidence and research gaps identified form the comprehensive literature review. In addition, implications of this research agenda for general practitioners/family doctors, researchers, research organizations, patients and policy makers are presented. The concept of six core competencies should be abandoned in favour of a model with four dimensions, including clinical, person related, community oriented and management aspects. Future research and policy should consider more the involvement and rights of patients; more attention should be given to how new treatments or technologies are effectively translated into routine patient care, in particular primary care. There is a need for a European ethics board. The promotion of GP/FM research demands a good infrastructure in each country, including access to literature and databases, appropriate funding and training possibilities.

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