Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Developing research priorities in Australian primary health care: a focus on nutrition and physical activity

Lauren Ball A E , Katelyn Barnes A , Michael Leveritt B , Lana Mitchell A , Lauren T. Williams A , Dianne Ball C and Elizabeth Patterson D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld 4222, Australia.

B School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.

C Communio Pty Ltd, North Sydney, NSW 2060, Australia.

D Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: l.ball@griffith.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(6) 554-559 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16068
Submitted: 31 May 2016  Accepted: 19 September 2016   Published: 17 October 2016

Abstract

Research priority setting is an important component of research planning, particularly when research options exceed available resources. This study identified the research priorities for supporting healthy lifestyle behaviours in the Australian primary healthcare setting. A five-step stakeholder engagement process was undertaken. Ten stakeholder organisations participated in the process, including patient representatives, health professional associations, health educators, researchers, government advisors and policymakers. Each organisation was asked to provide up to three research questions deemed as a priority. Research questions were critically appraised by the project team for answerability, sustainability, effectiveness, potential for translation and potential to affect disease burden. A blinded scoring system was used to rank the appraised questions, with higher scores indicating higher priority (range of scores possible 87–156). Thirteen unique research questions were submitted by stakeholders and achieved a range of scores from 87 to 139 points. The highest scoring research questions focused on: (i) the effectiveness of different health professionals at facilitating healthy lifestyle behaviours; (ii) the effect of health literacy on behaviour change; and (iii) cost-benefit analysis of healthy lifestyle promotion in primary health care. These priorities can be used to ensure future research projects directly align with the needs and preferences of research end-users.

Additional keywords: chronic disease, general practice, intervention studies, nutritional management, nutrition therapy, primary care, research methods.


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