Bridging the Gap in Primary Care Research

Communicating timely and significant clinical and health services research results to PCC’s membership and beyond

In 2021, the PCC began a two-year project titled Bridging the Gap in Primary Care Research. The project is funded by a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (19760-PCPCC).





What is the gap in primary care research that needs to be bridged?

Ideally, people would make well-informed healthcare decisions driven by high-integrity, evidence-based research that is guided by patients and other healthcare stakeholders. A challenge to realizing this vision is that research results that can improve care are often not disseminated effectively. This can mean that adoption of these results at the delivery level is undermined. In the primary care space, there are additional challenges. There is no central place for primary care research, including clinical findings and health services research (HSR), that spans primary care specialties.


In an earlier project supported by a PCORI Engagement Award (8588-PCPCC), the PCC analyzed the makeup and interests of its diverse audiences with respect to how they wish to receive research information. As a next step to that project, the current project identifies the most important primary care patient-centered outcomes research/comparative effectiveness research and health services research results and explores different ways of engaging key stakeholders in disseminating these select, high-impact results.

What is the PCC doing?

First, the PCC is curating and identifying the most impactful primary care research results—both clinical patient-centered outcomes research/comparative effectiveness research and health services research results. Second, the PCC is trying different ways to engage its diverse stakeholders in grappling with and disseminating those results to their diverse networks.

PCC is partnering on this project with the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), which has vast experience in primary care research and dissemination strategies, including getting input from patients about research priorities and an annual process for crowdsourcing the highest-impact research results (research “pearls”).

How is the PCC going about this work?

Research Dissemination Workgroup 

The PCC has formed a Research and Dissemination Workgroup (RDWG) to identify the most relevant primary care research and inform research translation and dissemination. This is with a goal of enhancing accessibility of results and engagement with the findings across diverse audiences, including patients.

Workgroup Co-chairs:

  • Eugene Rich, Senior Fellow, Director on Healthcare Effectiveness | Mathematica
  • Joseph LeMaster, MD, MPH, Professor | University of Kansas, School of Medicine

Workgroup Members:

  • Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, Director of Research | Harvard Center for Primary Care
  • Wendy Bennett, MD, MPH, Associate Professor | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Arlene Bierman, MD, Director | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Marjorie Bowman, MD, MPA, Chief Academic Affiliations Officer | Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Irene Dankwa-Mullan, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Health Officer | IBM
  • Daniel Dawes, JD, Director | Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, Executive Director | John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Bianca Frogner, PhD, Deputy Director | Primary Care Innovation Lab
  • Stephanie Gold, MD, Assistant Professor | University of Colorado Denver, Department of Family Medicine
  • Ann Greiner, MCP, President and CEO | Primary Care Collaborative
  • Jane Kogan, PhD, Associate Chief Research and Translation Officer | University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Julia Murphy, Director, Dissemination | Peterson Center on Healthcare 
  • Monica O'Reilly-Jacob, PhD, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor | Boston College, Connell School of Nursing
  • Michael Parchman, MD, MPH, Senior Investigator | MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation 
  • Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, FAAN, Senior Vice President and Director | AARP
  • Renee Turchi, MD, Faculty | Drexel University College of Medicine

Lunch and Learn

The PCC has also formed a broader "Lunch and Learn" series to evaluate and disseminate the policy implications of select articles identified by the Research Dissemination Workgroup. The Lunch and Learn series is another dissemination channel that is meant to inform and educate a wide range of primary care stakeholders of the most relevant and actionable primary care research. In these meetings, primary care researchers, advocates and policy makers are brought together to discuss the key messages and policy implications of the most important research identified by the RDWG, with the goal of better integrating the research findings into their organizational and policy decision making.

Lunch and Learn Co-chairs:

If you are interested in joining the Journal Club, please fill out this form.

Previous Lunch and Learn Meetings

Lunch and Learn hosted two primary care researchers, Dr. Sanjay Basu, Director of Research at the Harvard Center for Primary Care, and Dr. Eugene Rich, Senior Fellow at Mathematica, who presented their papers, Association of Primary Care Physician Supply With Population Mortality in the United States, 2005-2015 and Primary Care Practices Providing a Broader Range of Services Have Lower Medicare Expenditures and Emergency Department Utilization.

Policy Discussion Highlights:

  • Finance whole-person care:
    • Do not pay only for utilization but pay for wraparound services through a chronic-care model.
    • Pay for outcomes on a risk-adjusted basis where the risk calculator is invisible to the clinician.
  • Strengthen the medical education pipeline:
    • Medical schools are graduating fewer primary care clinicians.
    • Identify medical education, residency and post-residency incentives that improve the rate of primary care specialization among students.
  • Expand team-based care:
    • Utilize the full range of the primary care workforce including mobile pharmacists, mobile health workers, social workers, and so on, allowing each profession to work at the top of their license.
    • Conduct more research on the range of services provided in practices that include NPs and PAs.
  • Integrate behavioral health and primary care:
    • When practices provide a broader range of services (including counseling), their Medicare beneficiaries subsequently experience fewer ED visits and lower total spending.
    • Include team members who have behavioral health skills and take advantage of existing primary care physician competencies.
      • E.g., family medicine has historically included training in basic mental health counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Scheduled for October 7, 2021.

Register Here

What are the benefits of this project?

An overall goal of the project is to bridge research silos within primary care and engage researchers in topics relevant to patients and clinicians.

Through the activities described above, the PCC will create a fully rounded resource “hub”—a section on its website—as part of a communication strategy to spread relevant health services and clinical research to the primary care community.

The PCC hopes that the research and related resources created through this project will effectively guide future primary care research, expedite uptake of evidence-based best practices, help patients and other stakeholders make informed healthcare decisions, including in their use of primary care services, and inform policy makers.


For more information about the overall project or Journal Club, contact Noah Westfall.

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