Practice-based research networks, part i: Clinical laboratories to generate and translate research findings into effective patient care

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: To improve patient care, athletic training clinicians and researchers should work together to translate research findings into clinical practice. Problems with patient care observed in clinical practice should be translated into research frameworks, where they can be studied. Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) provide a compelling model for linking clinicians and researchers so they can conduct translational research to improve patient care. Objective: To describe (1) the translational research model, (2) practice-based research as a mechanism for translating research findings into clinical practice, (3) the PBRN model and infrastructure, (4) the research potential using the PBRN model, and (5) protection of human participants in PBRN research. Description: Translational research is the process of transforming research findings into health behavior that ultimately serves the public and attempts to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice. Practice-based research represents the final step in the translational research continuum and describes research conducted by providers in clinical practices. The PBRNs are characterized by an organizational framework that transcends a single site or study and serves as the clinical research "laboratory" for conducting comparative-effectiveness studies using patient-oriented measures. The PBRN approach to research has many benefits, including enhanced generalizability of results, pooling of resources, rapid patient recruitment, and collaborative opportunities. However, multisite research also brings challenges related to the protection of human participants and institutional review board oversight. Clinical and Research Advantages: Athletic training studies frequently include relatively few participants and, consequently, are able to detect only large effects. The incidence of injury at a single site is sufficiently low that gathering enough data to adequately power a treatment study may take many years. Collaborative efforts across diverse clinical practice environments can yield larger patient samples to overcome the limitations inherent in single-site research efforts. © by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.

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