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?

The PCC is forming a Research and Dissemination Workgroup 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

The PCC is also forming a broader Journal Club to evaluate select articles identified by the Research Dissemination Workgroup for academic rigor as well as potential or projected impacts. It will also act in an advisory capacity to the Research Dissemination group to convey the most salient research findings for stakeholders with a variety or perspectives and research needs. Journal Club co-chairs:

  • Jack Westfall, MD, MPH, Director | Robert Graham Center
  • Irene Dankwa-Mullan, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Health Officer | IBM

Through these activities, 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.

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.

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.

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