Lessons learned during the conduct of clinical studies in the dental PBRN

J Dent Educ. 2011 Apr;75(4):453-65.


Effectively addressing challenges of conducting research in nonacademic settings is crucial to its success. A dental practice-based research network called The Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) is comprised of practitioner- investigators in two health maintenance organizations, several universities, many U.S. states, and three Scandinavian countries. Our objective in this article is to describe lessons learned from conducting studies in this research context; the studies are conducted by clinicians in community settings who may be doing their first research study. To date, twenty-one studies have been completed or are in implementation. These include a broad range of topic areas, enrollment sizes, and study designs. A total of 1,126 practitioner-investigators have participated in at least one study. After excluding one study because it involved electronic records queries only, these studies included more than 70,000 patient/participant units. Because the DPBRN is committed to being both practitioner- and patient-driven, all studies must be approved by its Executive Committee and a formal study section of academic clinical scientists. As a result of interacting with a diverse range of institutional and regulatory entities, funding agencies, practitioners, clinic staff, patients, academic scientists, and geographic areas, twenty-three key lessons have been learned. Patients' acceptance of these studies has been very high, judging from high participation rates and their completion of data forms. Early studies substantially informed later studies with regard to study design, practicality, forms design, informed consent process, and training and monitoring methods. Although time-intensive and complex, these solutions improved acceptability of practice-based research to patients, practitioners, and university researchers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community-Based Participatory Research*
  • Data Collection
  • Dental Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'*
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • United States