Community Pharmacists' Willingness to Participate in a Rural Appalachian Practice-Based Research Network

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Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are groups of health care practitioners who engage in translational research and quality improvement activities, with the overarching goal of improving patient care in primary care settings. The Appalachian Research Network (AppNET), a rural primary care PBRN, was created in 2009 and comprises 17 clinics in 16 rural communities in South Central Appalachia. Nationally, only 4 of 152 PBRNs registered with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) place particular emphasis on community pharmacies and pharmacists in research efforts. Researchers at ETSU seek to integrate community pharmacies into AppNET, thereby establishing a novel interprofessional rural PBRN. The objective of this study was to assess pharmacist perceptions regarding practice-based research and interest in participating in AppNET. Barriers to participation in a PBRN, perceived benefits of participation, and practice-specific characteristics were also assessed. Contact information was obtained via telephone calls made to individual pharmacies in AppNET communities. Thereafter, paper-based surveys were mailed to 69 pharmacist contacts, along with a personalized cover letter and a stamped return envelope. A total of two mailings were used to recruit pharmacists to participate in the study. A response rate of 42% was obtained. Respondents were on average 44 years of age and had been licensed as a pharmacist for an average of 19 years. A large majority of respondents (86%) were very or somewhat interested in participating in AppNET. The majority of respondents felt that time constraints and workflow interruptions were the greatest barriers to participation. One hundred percent of respondents indicated that research on prescription drug abuse, medication adherence, and medication safety are very or somewhat applicable to their practice settings. Ninety-two percent felt that research on value-added services (e.g., immunizations, diabetes education) and medication therapy management was somewhat or very applicable to their practice. Overall, pharmacist respondents in AppNET communities indicated interest in research that benefits the care of their patients and interest in AppNET. Researchers are presently conducting a third recruitment attempt and will thereafter develop AppNET enrollment mechanisms that minimize barriers to participation of community pharmacies in practice-based research.


Johnson City, TN

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