How and why to study the practice content of a practice-based research network

Kevin A. Pearce, Margaret M. Love, Mary A. Barron, Samuel C. Matheny, Ziyad Mahfoud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: We describe the rationale, methods, and important lessons learned from doing a practice content study in a new practice-based research network (PBRN). METHODS: We performed a modified replication of the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) in the Kentucky Ambulatory Network (KAN). Network clinicians had input into focused modifications of the NAMCS protocol, including addition of data fields of special interest to them. Cross-sectional sampling of patient visits was done for a 1-year period, with each practice collecting data during 2 separate weeks. We used selected results to illustrate lessons learned and the value of this endeavor. RESULTS: Twenty-three KAN clinicians helped recruit, 33 of their colleagues, and these 56 community-based primary care clinicians collected data on 2,228 office visits. Patient demographics (except race) and the top 10 diagnoses were similar to US NAMCS data. One third of visits addressed 3 or more diagnoses, and one fourth of the visits involved 4 or more medications. The top 10 primary diagnoses represented only one third of all primary diagnoses. Seventy percent of adult patients were either overweight (30%) or obese (40%). Rates of counseling on diet or exercise rose with increases in body mass index. CONCLUSION: This study helped us establish and activate our new PBRN, increasing its membership in the process. The descriptive data gained will stimulate, guide, and support our future research activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Content of care
  • Delivery of health care
  • Family practice
  • Physicians practice patterns
  • Practice-based research
  • Research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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