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LPHI’s Health Services Research Team Shares the Big Picture of Research with Clinic Staff

Have you ever been asked to do something that you didn’t know was part of your job?  Or even worse, something you felt unprepared or unwilling to do?  It’s hard to see the big picture in situations like that. The Research Action for Health Network (REACHnet) is collaborating with partner clinic staff to address these questions as they relate to pragmatic research within the clinic workflow.

The landscape of clinical research is changing.  National funders such as PCORI, NIH and CDC are promoting innovative research approaches and dissemination mechanisms to make it “faster, easier, and less costly to conduct clinical research” (  While patients, clinicians, and investigators have received much close-up attention as stakeholders in research, the perspectives of one important stakeholder group remain to be examined: clinic staff.

Over two years of implementing pragmatic research within clinical care settings, REACHnet has gathered a wide array of staff perspectives on clinical research.  In Fall of 2016, the team conducted a survey of clinic staff who work at sites where REACHnet is implementing research activity.  Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they had not or weren’t sure if they had participated in conducting research in their current or past jobs.  However, 65 percent responded that they would be or might be interested in learning more about research or to be contacted to participate in a stakeholder group aimed at improving engagement of clinic staff in research.

The REACHnet team was able to incorporate this data into a PCORI Engagement Award proposal that was recently funded to establish clinic staff as a unique stakeholder group, providing an opportunity to better understand their perceptions of research and to create realistic guidelines for future protocols that rely on clinic staff to support research conducted alongside routine clinical care.  The project’s main output will be a staff-informed training on the basics of clinical research that will be disseminated locally and nationally to improve how research protocols are written.  In addition, the team will work with its IRB partners to develop guidelines for investigative teams to determine appropriate and feasible inclusion of in-clinic recruitment methods in research protocols.  Along with the 2015 PCORI funded MedEd project, these products will form the basis of a compendium of training resources that address the changing landscape of research at the big picture scale and at the point of the individual stakeholder, with the ultimate focus on improved patient outcomes.

Do you have an idea for improving engagement with a particular stakeholder group?  Do you want to know more about the type of initiatives the PCORI Engagement Awards fund?  LPHI's Health Services Research team can provide technical assistance in navigating the PCORI canvas to create a meaningful, competitive proposal.  Contact Lindsay Hendryx, HSR PM,, to learn more.