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Med J Aust. 2011 Aug 15;195(4):210-3.

How generalisable are results of studies conducted in practice-based research networks? A cross-sectional study of general practitioner demographics in two New South Wales networks.

Author information

1
Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW. parker.maginATnewcastle.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the demographics of general practitioners in two practice-based research networks (PBRNs) and to explore the generalisability of research findings from these PBRNs.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Cross-sectional questionnaire-based study of two geographically-based PBRNs--Hunter New England Central Coast Network of Research General Practices (NRGP) and Primary Healthcare Research Network-General Practice (PHReNet-GP)--during August-September 2010. All 183 GP members of both PBRNs were invited to participate; of these, 140 (77%) participated.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

GPs' demographics, use of languages other than English in consultations, and previous participation in research. Practices' use of practice nurses. Socioeconomic status and rurality or urbanicity of practice location.

RESULTS:

Compared with PHReNet-GP GPs, NRGP GPs were more likely to work in a practice employing a practice nurse (100% v 53.8%; 95% CI for difference, 30.5%-61.8%; P < 0.001), worked in larger practices (2.9 more full-time-equivalent GPs per practice; 95% CI, 2.1-3.6; P < 0.001), and were less likely to work in a major city (33.7% v 89.7%; 95% CI for difference, 42.8%-69.3%; P < 0.001). NRGP GPs also worked in practices with a different spectrum of socioeconomic disadvantage, and were less likely to have been involved in research as a researcher (35.4% v 76.9%; 95% CI for difference, 25.3%-57.8%; P < 0.001). Fewer NRGP GPs consulted in languages other than English (8.9% v 64.1%; 95% CI for difference, 39.1%-71.2%; P < 0.001). There were also differences between these and national general practice statistics.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest possible lack of generalisability of findings from some types of studies conducted in single PBRNs. In such circumstances, collaboration of PBRNs may produce more generalisable results.

PMID:
21843127
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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