Table 2. Lessons Learned from Pragmatic Trials in Practice-based Research Network (PBRN) Clinics
Create a communication planCreate a plan that includes a plan for the flow of communication between the central team members and clinic sites and for the dissemination of information to the central team and all clinic sites.
Know what message you want to communicateBe brief. Stick to the message you wish to convey. Repeat the message. Do not expect all messages to be heard and understood the first time they are communicated.
Be respectful of timePhysicians, nurses, and clinics are primarily engaged in the care of patients. Set meeting times in advance. Be on time. Be understanding if a meeting must be rescheduled.
Identify each site's preferred communication mode and use itAsk how the physician or nurse prefers you to communicate with them. Not everyone views E-mails throughout the day. Use listservs, FAQs, text or phone messaging, faxes. Provide all with your phone number, E-mail address, and fax number with each electronic communication.
Pictures are worth 1000 words!Pictures in E-mails help convey your message. Use maps and a contact list with photos to help you remember to whom you are speaking. Use a clock to mark the time zones where clinics are located. Send photos. Ask for photos from the clinic when you send treats or buy them lunch.
Make phone calls freeEstablish toll-free phone line for patients enrolled in the study and clinic staff. Be available to sites 24 hours a day if necessary for site calls regarding concerns, especially medication issues. Maintain a study E-mail for patients.
Be flexible but consistentBe persistent but patient. Convey your message in a palatable way.
Celebrate successes, big or smallSend cards, eCards, E-mails to site coordinators and lead physicians. Congratulate all successes! Notify clinics when they have reached goals or done something out of the ordinary. Share in the personal successes of individual physicians, nurses, and clinics. Provide certificates when goals are reached. Send small rewards throughout the year to encourage continued good will.
Expect change—it is inevitableBe prepared for personnel changes within the central team and at the clinic sites. Plan for training of personnel who are new to the study.
Set realistic expectationsDo all that you can to help everyone to succeed, but be prepared that not all will be successful.
  • FAQ, frequently asked questions.