Research Centers in Primary Care Practice-Based Research and Learning (South Carolina)

Project Final Report (PDF, 190.53 KB) Disclaimer

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Summary:

Founded in 1995, the Practice Partner Research Network (PPRNet) is a national practice-based research network (PBRN) designed to improve healthcare for the entire primary healthcare system. Led by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), PPRNet links practices across the country who use electronic health records (EHRs). It has three primary aims:

  • To turn EHR data into actionable information for quality improvement and reports for quality incentive programs. 
  • To empirically test theoretically sound primary care quality improvement interventions. 
  • To disseminate interventions that improve primary healthcare. 

This Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-funded project further developed the infrastructure of the PPRNet and enhanced its ability to conduct research. The specific aims of the project were to:

  • Expand the team of investigators across the MUSC campus, with emphases on investigators that represent under-developed areas of current expertise, specifically research on care for the underserved and patient activation. 
  • Improve readiness to respond to a broad scope of rapid-cycle funding announcements planned by AHRQ. 
  • Enhance infrastructure and activities related to disseminating and implementing research findings in their member practices.

The original intent had been to improve the network’s ability to respond to AHRQ’s rapid-cycle funding announcements that were limited to funded PBRN centers. However, after the project was funded, AHRQ decided to cease these funding opportunities, and thus the project instead focused on the first and third aims.

During the funding period, the PPRNet team submitted 11 grant applications. Of these, seven were funded totaling $6.19 million in grant funds. Several approaches were used to introduce PPRNet to MUSC research faculty, although there was limited success in recruiting new research colleagues. Initially, PPRNet focused on a single EHR; however, this was expanded during the project to organizations using eight different EHRs. Clinical quality measure reports were enhanced to support research, quality improvement, and value-based payment programs. Information and support were disseminated with in-person and web-based meetings, while there was development of Internet and social media tools to facilitate member activities. Through the activities of this project, the PPRNet research and dissemination infrastructure was enhanced, resulting in a more mature national primary care PBRN.

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Research Centers in Primary Care Practice Based Research and Learning - Final Report

Citation:
Ornstein S. Research Centers in Primary Care Practice Based Research and Learning - Final Report. (Prepared by the Medical University of South Carolina under Grant No. P30 HS021678). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2017. (PDF, 190.53 KB)

The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s), who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 
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