Reasons to support the RACGP Foundation
Why is general practice research important?
Pervasive impact of general practice on the health of all Australians
- General practitioners are the first point of contact for most patients
- 83% of the Australian community visit a general practitioner each year
- Most illnesses are treated in general practice such as depression, asthma, hypertension and arthritis.
Effective and efficient use of resources
- Research is essential to improving the quality of care for Australian patients and ensuring that primary health care provides a service that is both clinically and cost effective.
Research funding inequity
- Traditionally, medical research has largely been hospital centred. However, the vast majority of illnesses are managed in primary health care settings.
Decisions made in primary care need to be based on research evidence:
- It is essential that there is a knowledge base of sound information from both research findings and scientific developments, which is disseminated and applied to practice.
Primary care is important to patient care:
- A delay in diagnosing symptoms leads to increased anxiety for patients and potentially, the seriousness of the diagnosis.
- A decision about medication is significant and many patients take medication prescribed in primary care for the rest of their lives.
- A key factor of the outcome of serious disease is the speed and route of referral from primary care.
- Continuing care for serious disease, after acute treatment is complete, is undertaken in primary care.
GP research has implications not only in Australia, but also poorer countries where the bulk of care is primary health care.
The promotion and delivery of research related services is an integral part of the work of the RACGP. The RACGP research policy defines general practice research and why it is an important activity to be supported by the RACGP. The policy lists the current research services offered by the RACGP to encourage and support all general practitioners to develop research competencies. The perceived barriers to general practice research are identified, as well as the ways in which the RACGP attempts to address these barriers.
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