A practice-based research network (PBRN) is a group of practices devoted principally to the care of patients and affiliated for the purpose of examining the health care processes that occur in practices. PBRNs are characterized by an organizational framework that transcends a single practice or study. They provide a "laboratory" for studying broad populations of patients and care providers in community-based settings.
The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research
(AHRQ) has devoted funds to assist and support primary care PBRNs. For this reason the PBRN Resource Center
was developed. The PBRN Resource Center is an organization which provides technical support to primary care PBRNs. Support is provided in areas such as PBRN research methodology (including research design, analytic strategies, and organizational development), Health Information Technology, and the maintenance of the network. The Resource Center also functions to build the capacity of these networks by educating the networks in primary care research and data collection best practices.
PBRNs support the Patient Centered Medical Home
to improve upon the health of our communities. Through increasing efficiency and team-based approaches within family practices nationwide, the quality of health care will continuously improve.
Reflections of Practice-based Researchers
-- These stories from PBRN clinicians describe the values, motivations, and unique paths that clinicians took as they chose to participate and stay active in a PBRN. Their voices have the potential to influence others to participate in practice-based research. Lyle J. Fagnan, Margaret A. Handley, Nancy Rollins, and James Mold. J Am Board Fam Med 2010;23 442-451.
(10-page PDF file; About PDFs
Physician Perspectives on PBRN Research
-- Physicians across all 3 specialties cited the opportunity to enact quality improvement and
contribution to clinical knowledge as important incentives to participating in practice-based research. This supports the importance of strengthening the interface between research and quality improvement in PBRN projects. Karen Gibson, Peter Szilagyi, Carlos M. Swanger, Thomas Campbell, Thomas McInerny, Joseph Duckett, Joseph J. Guido, and Kevin Fiscella. J Am Board Fam Med 2010;23 452-454.
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Practice Benefits from PBRN Studies
-- Participating in a PBRN research study can provide advantages to practices that extend beyond the study’s specific purpose and content. These results provide further support for the value of PBRN research funding. Barbara P. Yawn, Wilson Pace, Allen Dietrich, Susan Bertram, Margary Kurland, Deborah Graham, Jessica Huff, Liliana Rocca, and Peter Wollan. J Am Board Fam Med 2010;23 455-464.
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Evaluating Primary Care Research Networks
-- It is time to reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of PCRNs and determine the desired outcomes (ends) of PCRNs and how we can best achieve them in the future (means). To open up the “black box” of the effectiveness of the PCRNs, it may be relevant to observe the effects of network and research participation on those involved in networks. Joan M. C. Bleeker, Wim A. B. Stalman, and Henriëtte E. van der Horst. J Am Board Fam Med 2010;23 465-475.
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PBRNs in the 21st Centrury - The Pearls of Research
-- Proceedings from the conference convened in September 1998 by the AAFP Task Force to Enhance Family Practice Research
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The IRB Challenge for Practice-based Research:
-- The AAFP, the AAFP NRN, and the AAFP IRB have begun discussing the possibility of adopting an alternative model of central IRB review, which would facilitate practice-based research in family medicine and which would encourage, rather than discourage, family medicine practices to participate in research studies that will further the discipline. Deborah G. Graham, MSPH, Mindy S. Spano, and Brian Manning, MPH, CHES. J Am Board Fam Med 2007;20:181–187.
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Strategies for Planning and Launching PBRN Research
-- Research conducted in a practice-based research network (PBRN) differs from other multisite research and presents particular planning challenges. The American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network (AAFP NRN) has developed a number of procedures used for planning and implementing studies, which address the challenges of national PBRN studies. Deborah G. Graham, MSPH, Mindy S. Spano, Thomas V. Stewart, Elizabeth W. Staton, MSTC, Angela Meers, MPA, and Wilson D. Pace, MD. J Am Board Fam Med 2007;20:220 –228.
(9-page PDF file; About PDFs