Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Closing the Gap Between Research and Real-World Clinical Practices: Tips and Resources

Julie C. Gass, PhD; Keri Dotson Bayley, MS; Jennifer S. Funderburk, PhD, Integrated Primary Care Special Interest Group (IPC SIG) Co-Chair

Similar to other areas within behavioral medicine, there remains a gap between “research” and “clinical care” within integrated primary care. Current research is limited on essential elements that are relevant for real-world application, and/or criticized for being idealistic. The activation and engagement of clinicians in the research process can help to fill this gap. One way to integrate clinicians into the process is to examine real-world processes and clinical innovations, such as those developed and deemed efficacious. However, schemas of randomized clinical trials and insurmountable time may become activated when the word “research” is mentioned to non-researchers. Using integrated primary care as one example, this article offers practical considerations and resources to overcome barriers, and provides suggestions for clinicians considering ways to contribute to a significant gap in the literature and researchers interested in increasing the applicability of their work:

  • Develop cross-professional relationships.
  • Researchers
    • Ensure findings are disseminated to clinicians.
    • In addition to publishing in peer-reviewed journals, disseminate results via email, blogs, webinars, or other avenues that can reach larger groups of clinicians.
    • Identify and disseminate how clinicians can help support you and extend your work.
    • Engage clinicians in your setting in the early development of your research ideas to ensure that the innovation is clinically relevant.
  • Clinicians

We hope that these tips and resources can help clinicians and researchers (and anyone in between) to consider ways to better bridge the gap between complex research and day-to-day clinical practice.