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2002 AHRQ Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) Awards

Primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are groups of primary care clinicians and practices working together to answer community-based health care questions and translate research findings into practice. In 2002, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded developmental grants of more than $3 million to 36 PBRNs.

Program Summary

In 2002, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded developmental grants totaling more than $3 million to 36 primary care practice-based research networks. Applicants applied for funding to support pilot research projects, network infrastructure development, or both. Three PBRNs received grants for pilot research projects, 21 networks were awarded funding for infrastructure development projects, and 12 PBRNs were provided with grants in support of projects with infrastructure development and pilot research components.

Pilot Research

Three PBRN network projects, described in detail below, received an estimated $200,000 each over 2 years for pilot research.

Network: Colorado Research Network (CaReNet)
Principal Investigator: Deborah Main, Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013485
Summary: The Colorado Research Network, in cooperation with the University of Colorado, undertook a multiphase project to design a survey for measuring the readiness and capacity of primary care offices to translate research into practice. The practice-level measure, called Office Vital Signs (OVS), helps to define a primary care office's technical, structural, strategic, and cultural capacity for changing and improving its current practices. The product is being used in several funded efforts to better determine its psychometric properties, value, and utility.

Network: Southern Primary Care Urban Research Network (SPUR-Net)
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Steinbauer, M.D.
Project Number: HS013524
Summary: The Southern Primary Care Urban Research Network, affiliated with the Baylor College of Medicine, conducted a pilot study to determine the effect of an electronic form embedded in an electronic medical record and/or profiling letters designed to improve physician compliance with national lipid management guidelines. A performance improvement was noted among physicians who used the computer form and for those who received the quarterly profiling letters; however, the computer form appears to have a greater effect on the testing and appropriate recognition of hyperlipidemia.

Network: University of California at San Francisco Collaborative Research Network (UCSF CRN)
Principal Investigator: Andrew Bindman, M.D.
Project Number: HS013544
Summary: The University of California at San Francisco Collaborative Research Network initiated the IDEALL Project (Improving Diabetes Across Language and Literacy) in their network of community health clinics. The pilot work, intended to design and field test two forms of disease management tailored to patients' literacy and language needs, will be compared at a subsequent time to usual care practices in a randomized trial involving English-, Spanish-, and Cantonese-speaking patients. The project resulted in standardized interventions in three languages and outcome measures that will be used to evaluate the effects of the interventions.

Infrastructure Development

Twenty-one PBRNs each received $100,000 over 2 years to support PBRN infrastructure development. The networks used this infrastructure funding to support a range of activities including improved electronic data collection and aggregation, creation of disease registries, adoption of clinician-advocated research and procedural improvements, strengthened minority recruitment strategies, network communications upgrades, and enhancing network capacity for the translation of research into practice.

Network: Advanced Practice Registered Nurses' Research Network (APRNet)
Principal Investigator: Margaret Grey, M.S.N., Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013493
Summary: The Advanced Practice Registered Nurses' Research Network is a regional network for advanced practice nurses in primary care located in New England.

Network: Arkansas Research Collaborative (ARC)
Principal Investigator: Geoffrey Goldsmith, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013580
Summary: The Arkansas Research Collaborative is a statewide rural family medicine network administered through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Network: Cambridge Health Alliance PBRN
Principal Investigator: Karen Lasser, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013559
Summary: The Cambridge Health Alliance PBRN is a network of neighborhood health centers that serve multicultural, underserved, low-income patients. The network is supported by the Cambridge (MA) Medical Care Foundation.

Network: Capital Area Primary Care Research Network (CAPRICORN)
Principal Investigator: David Meyers, M.D.
Project Number: HS013491
Summary: The Capital Area Primary Care Research Network is composed of primary care practices supported by the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University.

Network: Central Texas Primary Care Research Network (CenTexNet)
Principal Investigator: Samuel Forjuoh, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013589
Summary: The Central Texas Primary Care Research Network is composed of family practices serving uninsured, homeless, or indigent populations. The network is supported by Scott and White Memorial Hospital (Temple, TX).

Network: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Network (CHOP PBRN)
Principal Investigator: Louis Bell, M.D.
Project Number: HS013492
Summary: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Network is a pediatric network composed of primary care practices affiliated with the CHOP.

Network: Cincinnati Pediatric Research Group (CPRG)
Principal Investigator: Thomas DeWitt, M.D.
Project Number: HS013506
Summary: The Cincinnati Pediatric Research Group is a regional pediatric network supported by Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Network: Collaboration of University Based Systems (CUBS)
Principal Investigator: Robert Pace, M.D.
Project Number: HS013562
Summary: The Collaboration of University Based Systems is a network of primary care community clinics providing care for vulnerable young children across Louisiana. It is supported by the Louisiana State University Health Science Center (New Orleans, LA).

Network: Continuity Research Network (CORNET)
Principal Investigator: Janet Serwint, M.D.
Project Number: HS013582
Summary: The Continuity Research Network is a national pediatric network supported by the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, based in McLean, VA.

Network: Community Health Center Network (CHCN)
Principal Investigator: Neil Maizlish, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013543
Summary: The Community Health Center Network is composed of community health centers serving low-income Latino, Asian, and African-American residents of Alameda County, CA.

Network: Community Practice Network (CPN)
Principal Investigator: Robert Oye, M.D.
Project Number: HS013572
Summary: The Community Practice Network is composed of primary care practices (pediatrics, general internal medicine, and family practice) affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles.

Network: HamesNet
Principal Investigator: Peggy Wagner, Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013513
Summary: HamesNet is composed of family practices that provide care for medically underserved and minority patients throughout the State of Georgia. The network is supported by the Medical College of Georgia.

Network: Kentucky Ambulatory Network (KAN)
Principal Investigator: Kevin Pearce, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013487
Summary: The Kentucky Ambulatory Network represents small, primary care practices across the State of Kentucky and is administered by the University of Kentucky.

Network: USC-Los Angeles PBRN (LANet)
Principal Investigator: Lynda Knox, Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013531
Summary: The USC-Los Angeles PBRN is composed of primary care clinics located in inner-city Los Angeles. The network is supported by the University of Southern California.

Network: MetroNet
Principal Investigator: Victoria Neale, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013585
Summary: MetroNet is a network of primary care practices located in metropolitan Detroit. The network is supported by Wayne State University (Detroit, MI).

Network: Midwest Nursing Center Consortium Research Network (MNCCRN)
Principal Investigator: Sally Lundeen, M.S.N., Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013573
Summary: The Midwest Nursing Center Consortium Research Network is composed of community nursing centers affiliated with 13 Midwestern universities and is administered through the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Network: New England Clinicians Forum (NECF)
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Granger, M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013568
Summary: The New England Clinicians Forum is made up of community-based health centers located throughout the New England region.

Network: Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN)
Principal Investigator: L.J. Fagnan, M.D.
Project Number: HS013484
Summary: The Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network represents rural practices across Oregon and is supported by the Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, OR).

Network: Rainbow Office-based Clinical Research Network (RRN)
Principal Investigator: Amy Henegan, M.D.
Project Number: HS013515
Summary: The Rainbow Office-based Clinical Research Network is a pediatric network supported by Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH).

Network: Washington University Pediatric and Adolescent Ambulatory Research Consortium (WU PAARC)
Principal Investigator: Jane Garbutt, M.B.Ch.B.
Project Number: HS013530
Summary: The Washington University Pediatric and Adolescent Ambulatory Research Consortium is composed of community pediatricians affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO).

Network: Wisconsin Research Network (WReN)
Principal Investigator: Jonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013494
Summary: The Wisconsin Research Network is a network of family medicine practices supported by the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Combined Pilot Research and Infrastructure Development

AHRQ awarded approximately $300,000 to each of 12 primary care PBRNs, over 2 years, for infrastructure development and pilot research. The networks, their project descriptions and results, and any associated publications are listed below.

Network: Alabama Practice Based Research Network (APBRN)
Principal Investigator: Michael Harrington, M.D.
Project Number: HS013529
Summary: The Alabama Practice Based Research Network, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, evaluated two personal digital assistant (PDA) programs designed for use by family physicians in addressing smoking and obesity issues with their patients. The PDA technology assisted clinicians in screening and providing effective prevention messages to their patients during routine care. The pilot study indicated the PDAs are useful tools for point-of-care health behavior assessment and counseling and for collecting and aggregating research data in routine practice.
Publications:

  • Crawford MA, Woodby LL, Russell TV, et al. Tobacco use assessment and counseling practices among Alabama primary care physicians. Quality in Primary Care 2005;13:163-70.
  • Crawford MC, Harrington TM, Russell TV, et al. Practice extenders and PDA-based counseling for smoking and unhealthy diet. Ann Fam Med 2005 Jul/Aug;3:S41-3.

Network: Crozer Keystone Health Network (CKHN)
Principal Investigator: Paul Woolf, M.D., M.B.A.
Project Number: HS013571
Summary: The Crozer Keystone Health Network, based in Delaware County, PA, developed and tested in family medicine and internal medicine practices a strategy that integrates multiple interventions for reducing cardiovascular risks. Patients in the study's intervention arm received educational pamphlets and individualized risk assessments, while their providers received updated data on the patients' progress toward targeted goals. The intervention group's results were compared to those of a control group within the network and to non-network patients in the same county. Although all network patients showed significantly more improvement than did non-network patients, the targeted interventions did not add to the network's ongoing performance-improvement processes.

Network: Iowa Research Network (IRENE)
Principal Investigator: Paul James, M.D.
Project Number: HS013581
Summary: The Iowa Research Network, affiliated with the University of Iowa and the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians, conducted a pilot project aimed at assessing those patient and physician factors that prevent adequate glycemic control of diabetes in rural settings. The study found that diabetics will provide information to their physicians regarding self-care behaviors that are likely to influence glucose control—but are not always known to the physician.

Network: The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Network (MAFPRN)
Principal Investigator: Kevin Peterson, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013558
Summary: The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Network, supported by the University of Minnesota Medical School, completed an exploratory investigation of a comprehensive intervention process guided by the TRANSLATE model and supported by a sophisticated electronic infrastructure that focused on translating into primary care practices recommendations for diabetes care and colon cancer screening. The diabetes care implementation was highly successful, with significant increases noted in microalbuminuria screening, foot exams, and eye exams. The colon cancer screening implementation was more limited in its success.
Publication:

  • Gabbay RA, Khan L, Peterson K. Critical features for successful implementation of a diabetes registry. Diabetes Technol Ther 2005 Dec;7(6):958-67.

Network: American Academy of Family Physicians' National Research Network (NRN)
Principal Investigator: John Hickner, M.D., M.Sc.
Project Number: HS013554
Summary: The American Academy of Family Physicians' National Research Network conducted a pilot study on the ability of family physicians and their staffs to recognize and report test processing errors in their practices. The research team gathered data from eight family practice offices using quantitative and qualitative methods and found that family physicians and their staffs are willing to report test process errors anonymously to a Web-based reporting system. The investigators later categorized test errors into a taxonomy that is available for others to use, based on the reported error types and distribution.
Publication:

  • Phillips RL, Dovey SM, Hickner JS, et al. The AAFP patient safety reporting system: development and legal issues pertinent to medical error tracking and analysis. In: Henriksen K, Battles JB, Marks ES, Lewin DI, eds. Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation. Vol. 3, Implementation Issues. AHRQ Publication No. 05-0021. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; February 2005.

Network: North Carolina Family Medicine Research Network (NC-FP-RN)
Principal Investigator: Philip Sloane, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013521
Summary: The North Carolina Family Medicine Research Network, supported by the Department of Family Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill, conducted a pilot study of syndromic surveillance for bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases. The daily frequency of CDC-defined syndromes (e.g., rashes, fevers) seen in a family medicine center that exceeded a predetermined threshold were noted and compared to hospital emergency department (ED) data for the same period. The rise and peak of cases presented in the family medicine center was found to precede those noted in the EDs by several days.

Network: Oklahoma Physicians Resource/Research Network (OKPRN)
Principal Investigator: James Mold, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013557
Summary: The Oklahoma Physicians Resource/Research Network, administered by the University of Oklahoma, conducted a small randomized trial of three interventions for improving the management of diabetic patients: clinical benchmarking/feedback; practice detailing; and practice facilitation. Performance improvements were demonstrated for some of the quality indicators; however, none of the interventions was found to be significantly or consistently effective in improving overall diabetes care performance.

Network: Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS)
Principal Investigator: Eric Slora, Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013512
Summary: Pediatric Research in Office Settings, a national network supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is testing two different methods of translating into practice research on optimizing rates of pediatric immunizations. This work is ongoing.

Network: Pediatric PitNet
Principal Investigator: Ellen Wald, M.D.
Project Number: HS013523
Summary: Pediatric PitNet, a network of pediatricians affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, conducted a pilot project testing methods with which to improve the quality of injury prevention in primary care. The proposed intervention—providing focused counseling during office visits, telephone followup calls, and home visits to parents—was not deemed feasible, since only 35 percent of eligible parents agreed to participate in the pilot. The researchers concluded that the need to obtain informed consent and perform home visits was a serious impediment to the implementation and evaluation phases of the intervention.

Network: Duke Primary Care Research Consortium (PCRC)
Principal Investigator: Rowena Dolor, M.D.
Project Number: HS013511
Summary: The Duke Primary Care Research Consortium, a network of general internal medicine practices supported by Duke University, is testing tailored interventions aimed at increasing the rates of influenza immunization among asthma patients followed in primary care practices. Work on this project is ongoing.

Network: QNet
Principal Investigator: Christel Mottur-Pilson, Ph.D.
Project Number: HS013508
Summary: QNet, a national network of general internal medicine practices supported by the American College of Physicians, is conducting a pilot study to evaluate the impact of diabetes-related performance measures on the quality of care received by diabetic patients. Work on this project is ongoing.

Network: Research Involving Outpatient Settings Network (RIOSNet)
Principal Investigator: Robert Williams, M.D., M.P.H.
Project Number: HS013496
Summary: The Research Involving Outpatient Settings Network, composed of clinicians in Indian Health, community health centers, and University of New Mexico practices, conducted an exploratory project to learn more about the process of primary prevention and risk factor reduction for diabetes in underserved, predominantly Hispanic and American Indian communities throughout New Mexico. The network found that the decision to counsel a patient on obesity during a brief clinical encounter is influenced by factors related to the individual clinician or patient (such as concepts of wellness), and contextual factors such as family and culture.

Current as of May 2006
Internet Citation: 2002 AHRQ Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) Awards. May 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/primary/pbrn2002/pbrn2002.html