Practice-based research network membership is associated with retention of clinicians in underserved communities: a Research Involving Outpatient Settings Network (RIOS Net) study. Academic Article uri icon


  • Professional isolation is a barrier to practicing in rural and underserved communities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between membership in a practice-based research network and the length of employment in members' and nonmembers' current clinic sites.This was a cross sectional study of 7 group practices (2 urban and 5 rural groups comprising 22 clinic sites) throughout New Mexico that had RIOS Net member and nonmember practicing clinicians.The 22 clinics employed 95 clinicians, of which 43% were RIOS Net members (21 of 59 MDs, 8 of 18 Nurse Practitioners, 9 of 15 Physician Assistants and 3 of 3 others). RIOS Net members had a significantly longer mean employment time (7.0 years; SD, 6.8 years; median, 5.0 years), compared with non-RIOS Net members (4.0 years; SD, 5.0 years; median, 2.3 years; P = .003). Similar results were found when analyzed by length of time in practice with cutoffs of 2 and 5 years. Discussion: Being a member of a practice-based research network may be a determinate of staying in rural practice longer. This is a hypothesis-generating study and needs confirmation from larger studies whose analysis stratifies clinician demographics and practice type.