The role of the practice manager in general practice- based research
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Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2017 Anna Wood
Research in the general practice setting is essential to ensure the clinical care provided is effective and evidence-based. To facilitate general practice-based research, studies must be designed in ways that accommodate practice routine. Furthermore, intervention studies need to be managed at the practice level to ensure uptake and implementation. The practice manager is central to the administration and oversight of general practice organisation and routine. However, there is a paucity of research evidence about this role, and no current literature on practice managers’ contributions to research intervention trial facilitation and implementation in the general practice setting. This study investigated the practice manager’s role in facilitating the implementation of an intervention as part of a clinical trial in Australian general practice. This research was a sub-study of the Australian Chlamydia Control Effectiveness Pilot (ACCEPt). ACCEPt was a randomised controlled trial that measured whether a multifaceted intervention designed to increase annual chlamydia testing reduced the transmission and associated complications of chlamydia among 16 – 29 year-old general practice attendees. Using a qualitative thematic methodology, 23 semi-structured interviews were conducted with practice managers during the ACCEPt intervention phase. “The practice managers' role in facilitating and implementing the ACCEPt intervention was explored, along with the barriers and enablers to the conduct of general practice-based research.” The findings of this study suggest practice managers are key to establishing, facilitating and managing research interventions at the general practice level. The participating practice managers described their central positions within the structure of the organisation as pivotal to directly liaising with GPs on research matters, delegating tasks and maintaining the profile of research in general practices. Managers had the capacity to embed non-clinical tasks into their current workloads, which they saw as crucial to sustaining trials and limiting the impact of research on practice routine. New perspectives from practice managers suggest the main enabler to research uptake and sustainability in the practice is the practice manager’s involvement. They reported daily routine and the rigid scheduling of GPs’ appointment times as the main barrier. This is the first Australian study of the role of the practice manager in facilitating intervention studies in general practice. While this study fills a gap in the literature about practice managers and their contribution to general practice-based research uptake, it also highlights the need for further examination of this role, specifically a broader systematic investigation of practice managers’ contribution to managing intervention studies at the practice level. Furthermore, exploration of the training needs of practice managers is required to identify education that would maximise their potential to contribute to research.
Keywordspractice manager, primary care research, general practice
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