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Purpose: Practice-based research networks (PBRN) seek to shorten the gap between research and application in primary patient care settings. Inclusion of community pharmacies in primary care PBRNs is relatively unexplored. Such a PBRN model could improve care coordination and community-based research, especially in rural and underserved areas. The objectives of this study were to: 1) evaluate rural Appalachian community pharmacy key informants’ perceptions of PBRNs and practice-based research; 2) explore key informants’ perceptions of perceived applicability of practice-based research domains; and 3) explore pharmacy key informant interest in PBRN participation.

Methods: The sample consisted of community pharmacies within city limits of all Appalachian Research Network (AppNET) PBRN communities in South Central Appalachia. A descriptive, cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study was conducted from November 2013 to February 2014. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine associations between key informant and practice characteristics, and PBRN interest and perceptions.

Findings: A 47.8% response rate was obtained. Most key informants (88%) were very or somewhat interested in participating in AppNET. Enrichment of patient care (82.8%), improved relationships with providers in the community (75.9%), and professional development opportunities (69.0%) were perceived by more than two-thirds of respondents to be very beneficial outcomes of PBRN participation. Respondents ranked time constraints (63%) and workflow disruptions (20%) as the biggest barriers to PBRN participation.

Conclusion: Key informants in rural Appalachian community pharmacies indicated interest in PBRN participation. Integration of community pharmacies into existing rural PBRNs could advance community level care coordination and promote improved health outcomes in rural and underserved areas.

Type: Original Research

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© The Authors. This document was originally published in Innovations in Pharmacy.