How can primary care cross the quality chasm?
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The chasm between knowledge and practice decried by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is the result of other chasms that have not been addressed. They include the chasm between what we know and what we need to know to improve care; the chasm between those who provide primary care and those who do not fund, study, support, or publish practical primary care studies; and the chasm between research and quality improvement (QI). These chasms are a result of problematic concepts, attitudes, traditions, time frames, and financing approaches among the various participants. If we are to facilitate the production and use of the knowledge needed for primary care to cross IOM's chasm, major changes are needed. These changes include the following: (1) admission by all primary care professions that we have quality problems that require our unified attention and action; (2) conversion of the paradigm from "translate research into practice" to "optimizing health and health care through research and QI"; (3) development and facilitation of more partnerships among clinicians, researchers, and care delivery leaders for engaged scholarship in both research and QI; (4) modification of the agendas and methods of funders and researchers so they emphasize the problems of patients and patient care and support practical time frames and research designs; and (5) facilitation by funders and journals of the dissemination and implementation of lessons from QI and practical research.
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