PURPOSE: We wanted to describe the emerging role of primary care practice-based in research, quality improvement (QI), and translation of research into practice (TRIP). METHODS: We gathered information from the published literature, discussions with PBRN leaders, case examples, and our own personal experience to describe a role for PBRNs that comfortably bridges the gap between research and QI, discovery and application, academicians and practitioners - a role that may lead to the establishment of true learning communities. We provide specific recommendations for network directors, network clinicians, and other potential stakeholders. RESULTS: PBRNs function at the interface between research and QI, an interface called TRIP by some members of the research community. In doing so, PBRNs are helping to clarify the difficulty of applying study findings to everyday care as an inappropriate disconnect between discovery and implementation, research and practice. Participatory models are emerging in which stakeholders agree on their goals; apply their collective knowledge, skills, and resources to accomplish these goals; and use research and QI methods when appropriate. CONCLUSIONS: PBRNs appear to be evolving from clinical laboratories into learning communities, proving grounds for generalizable solutions to clinical problems, and engines for improvement of primary care delivery systems.
- Practice-based research
- Practice-based research network
- Primary health care
- Quality improvement
- Quality of health care