The rapid changes in medical science compel physicians to keep abreast with the latest developments by gaining an understanding and using scientific principles and methods.[1
Research not only improves medical knowledge, but also keeps practicing physicians in touch with changes in their field and encourages communication with their colleagues.[2
] Therefore, evidence of research is a prerequisite to ensuring that patients are given the best possible care, in the most effective and efficient manner.[3
The research activity of postgraduate medical trainees is important as it offers better clinical care, critical reasoning, and lifelong learning.[4
] Health research training is therefore, an important part of medical education.[5
Evidently practice-based research presents an ideal setting for primary care research,[1
] as primary care is not just the best recruiting center for patients, it is a dynamic environment where GPs and other healthcare professionals are at constant work to understand and solve problems.[6
Undoubtedly, research in general practice is vital for the improvement of patient healthcare outcomes[7
] and primary care is critical to the overall provision of effective health care.[8
] Compared to other clinical disciplines, however, general practice has produced significantly less published research in terms of both researchers and subjects.[9
] There is, as yet, no strong culture of research in primary care and much of the existing research is conceived and undertaken by people outside primary care.[10
Non-participation of GPs could make practice-based studies potentially biased and undermine the validity of the research results.[11
] Consequently, a well-developed primary medical care system is needed.[12
] This includes initiatives to develop new research and encourages service practitioners to take part in studies initiated by academics or the pharmaceutical industry.[6
The training programs of the Academic Departments of Family Medicine offering postgraduate training may or may not have a research component. In countries such as Korea, South Africa, Nigeria, Philippines, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, physicians must complete a research project as part of family medicine training prior to registration or board certification. Such countries as Fiji, Croatia, several Caribbean nations, and Indonesia have ensured that associations of family physicians encourage practice-based research as a component of continuing professional development.[13
Since the early 1980s there have been major changes in the primary healthcare system of Saudi Arabia. Today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) operates 2037 primary care centers throughout the country, each serving an average of 9530 people. Of the 6853 doctors in the system, 1441 are Saudis.[14
] In Saudi Arabia, to my knowledge, no research has addressed this issue.
General practitioners who are interested in providing quality care to their patients are concerned about the best method for delivering that care. The use of research that results in the management of our patients in primary care will ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
The objective of this study is to assess the attitude of doctors in the Riyadh Military Hospital (RMH) Primary Care Centers toward research, assess their research practices, and explore the barriers that impede this research.