Attitudes of primary healthcare chief physicians towards research in Finland: a national study

Anna Dania, Pekka Mäntyselkä, Markku Sumanen, Tuomas Heikki Koskela

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Objective: To illustrate the views of chief physicians in Finnish primary healthcare health centres (HCs) on the existing research capacity of their centres, their attitudes to practice-based research network activity, and research topics of interest to them. Design: A cross-sectional survey study. Setting: Finnish HCs. Subjects: Chief physicians in Finnish HCs. Main outcome measures: We used a questionnaire that included five-point Likert scales and multiple choice and open-ended questions to identify the chief physician’s profile, the HC content, the attitudes of chief physicians towards engagement in research, research topics of interest to them, and factors that may influence their motivation. Descriptive methods were used for the analysis of the quantitative data, while the qualitative data were processed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: There was a relatively good representation of all hospital districts. One-third of HCs had at least one person doing research, and 61% of chief physicians would support research in their setting. Their stimulus for research was primarily testing new therapies, protocols, and care processes, as well as effectiveness and healthcare improvement. The expected benefits that motivate engagement in Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are evidence-based practice and raised professional capacity and profile of the HC. Conclusions: Chief physicians regard research as an elementary part of the development of primary care practices and health policy. Their motivation to engage in PBRN activity is determined by the relevance of the research to their interests and the management of competing priorities and resource limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-151
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • general practice
  • Practice-based Research Network
  • primary care

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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