General practice trials: the importance of creating evidence

Mark R Nelson
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11216
Published online: 1 October 2012

Two studies testing interventions that made little difference to patient outcomes demonstrate the importance of translational research

General practitioners are often expected to implement findings of clinical trials done in hospitals or academia. Health policymakers also develop and implement primary health care system changes without proper evaluation or being informed by translational research studies. Two clinical trials reported in this issue of the Journal give us three important lessons why this should not happen.1,2

  • Discipline of General Practice, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Harris MF, Fanaian M, Jayasinghe UW, et al. A cluster randomised controlled trial of vascular risk factor management in general practice. Med J Aust 2012; 197: 387-393.
  • 2. Zwar NA, Hermiz O, Comino E, et al. Care of patients with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Med J Aust 2012; 197: 394-398.
  • 3. Walters JA, Walters EH, Nelson M, et al. Factors associated with misdiagnosis of COPD in primary care. Prim Care Respir J 2011; 20: 396-402.
  • 4. Wing LMH, Reid CM, Ryan P, et al. A comparison of outcomes with angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors and diuretics for hypertension in the elderly. N Engl J Med 2003; 348: 583-592.
  • 5. Nelson MR, Reid CM, Ames DJ, et al; the ASPREE Investigators Group. Feasibility of conducting a primary prevention trial of low-dose aspirin for major adverse events in the elderly in Australia. Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE). Med J Aust 2008; 189: 105-109. <MJA full text>
  • 6. Nelson M. High blood pressure research in Australian general practice [editorial]. Aust Fam Physician 2003; 32: 277.
  • 7. Gunn J. Should Australia develop primary care research networks? Med J Aust 2002; 177: 63-66.


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