New tool to improve primary care research reporting

Morgan Liotta

11/10/2023 4:20:55 PM

The guidelines aim to address the unique perspectives and approaches of primary care and improve translation to ‘real-world’ practice.

Bill Phillips and Liz Sturgiss
CRISP co-leads University of Washington Professor Bill Phillips and Associate Professor Liz Sturgiss at the RACGP’s College House, Melbourne.

Research often doesn’t include things that are important to GPs – such as continuity of care, relationships, and an understanding of multimorbidity – despite these all having an impact on daily practice.
That is according to GP and Monash University Associate Professor Liz Sturgiss, who is co-convenor of the Consensus Reporting Items for Studies in Primary Care (CRISP) Working Group.
A five-years-in-the-making international multidisciplinary initiative, CRISP aims to identify reporting essentials to meet the needs of the variety of users of primary care research.
‘We know primary care is a really unique setting. We are based in the community, we provide comprehensive longitudinal care, but our research questions and methods are really different to other clinical areas,’ Associate Professor Sturgiss told newsGP.
‘What we really hope that CRISP can lead to is that it’s more useful for clinicians on the ground, and when researchers are developing primary care research, that they incorporate factors that are important to clinicians in real-world practice.’
Earlier this month, alongside Working Group co-convenor Professor Bill Phillips from the University of Washington, Associate Professor Sturgiss visited the RACGP Foundation in Melbourne to discuss the new CRISP statement and checklist, which are world-first research reporting guidelines addressing the unique perspectives, approaches and research concerns of primary care.
Both the CRISP checklist and statement were recently published in the Annals of Family Medicine, which the Working Group hope will disseminate how CRISP can be used to enhance primary care research – from planning, reporting and teaching novice researchers.
The CRISP checklist is a living document and outlines 24 items that describe:

  • the research team
  • patients
  • study participants
  • health conditions
  • clinical encounters
  • care teams
  • interventions
  • study measures
  • care settings
  • implementation of findings/results in primary care.
The checklist aims to aid the application of study results to improve the process of care and health outcomes for patients and communities.
Another CRISP objective is to prevent research waste and produce papers that are useful to the end user. Associate Professor Sturgiss said the project looks at research reporting guidelines from the past decade.
‘There’s been a lot of work done on reporting of research because we know that if research isn’t reported properly, it can lead to research waste because other people can’t understand what you did in your research and use it in their own setting or replicate the research in their own setting,’ she said.
One of the CRISP Working Group members is globally recognised GP researcher Professor Paul Glasziou, who has worked with the Equator Network for many years to develop guidelines that improve research reporting. The Equator Network currently has around 500 guidelines, including for palliative care and cardiology, but until now there was none for primary care and general practice.
‘They have lots of guidelines for other topic areas and all different kinds of clinical areas, but there was none for primary care,’ Associate Professor Sturgiss said.
‘For the last five years we’ve been working out how we can improve the reports of primary care research so that they’re more useful for clinicians and patients, other researchers, policymakers, funders, anyone that wants to use the reports of primary care research.’
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