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

What's Needed to Increase Research Capacity in Rural Primary Health Care?

L Barnett, L Holden, D Donoghue, M Passey and H Birden

Australian Journal of Primary Health 11(3) 45 - 53
Published: 2005


The aim of this study is to identify ways to build research capacity within primary health. A consultation was undertaken in late 2004 using a combination of a one-page survey and a guided meeting format, in a primary health setting in rural NSW. Most (81.3%) of the 134 individuals consulted were part of an Area Health Service, with 12.7% from non-government settings. Most (80.6%) were clinicians, with a third (31.5%) nurses, 8.3% in medicine, and the remainder from a range of allied health professions. Eleven organisations were represented. The main outcome measures were identification of support needs, processes to enhance research engagement, and barriers and enablers to clinicians' research involvement. The results showed that popular delivery modes for research training and support were courses and "one-to- one" advice. Writing topics were generally more popular than others. Common barriers were time and technology issues. A key enabler was a discipline-specific focus. This is one of few rural Australian consultations on research needs in primary health conducted with a diverse range of clinicians at the clinician level. It will direct future research capacity building efforts towards maximising face-to-face discipline specific options and minimising technology use.

© La Trobe University 2005

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