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PPRNet - Primary (Care) Practices Research Network

Ongoing Research:

Translating Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Research into Primary Care Practice 

PPRNet is recruiting primary care practices for a study soon to be funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to improve CKD identification and management in primary care.  Primary care providers play an important role in identifying and managing early chronic kidney disease, but large quality gaps exist in the management of CKD in primary care. The goal of the study is to test whether practice-based quality improvement strategies such as better use of health information technology, increased team-based care, and improved care coordination with nephrologists, can improve adherence to CKD clinical practice guidelines.

We will randomly allocate participating practices to an “intervention” or “control” group for this 18-month study.  Both “intervention” and “control” practices will receive performance reports on adherence to a set of CKD clinical quality measures.

“Intervention” practices will participate in several additional activities intended to improve CKD care, including:

1)Participation in 3-4 hours of on-site meetings attended by all clinicians and clinical staff members to review current performance on CKD CQM, learn about CKD clinical practice guidelines, specific practice-based strategies that may improve care, and consider developing a plan for implementing these strategies.

2)Participation in at least 2 follow-up webinars through the course of the study to continue to re-assess performance and consider additional improvement planning

3)Send one clinician and one clinical staff member to participate in a one-day “best practice” meeting held in Charleston SC in summer 2017 to share and learn successful strategies with other practices.

Both intervention and control practices that participate in all expected activities will each receive an incentive of $295 per clinician (guaranteed up to four clinicians/practice) per year. 


Virtual Learning Collaborative for Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Treatment in Primary Care

We invite PPRNet practices to participate in a new research project that will evaluate a continuing education and practice improvement model designed to improve alcohol screening, brief intervention and treatment in primary care. PPRNet has more than 15 years of experience helping practices nationwide translate evidence into practice. The new study will be a group randomized controlled clinical trial.  Advantages for participating in this project are:

  • A modest financial incentive.
  • Opportunity to help identify a more efficient means for clinician and staff education about a condition that affects 30% of Americans with alcohol misuse.

For practices randomized to the intervention group, additional advantages are:

  • Continuing education and if needed, Part IV MOC credits
  • Education and training for staff and clinicians.
  • Support for practice improvement from an experienced team of alcohol and primary care clinicians.
  • Interaction with like-minded peers, who can help each other overcome barriers through shared experiences

Expectations for participation include recording alcohol screening, brief interventions and pharmacotherapy in structured data fields in your EHR; attending a 30 minute introductory webinar; and if randomized to the intervention group participating in a web-based learning collaborative for up to 1 hour a month.  The learning collaborative will include podcasts, webinars, and a discussion board. 

1) Research Centers in Primary Care Practice Based Research and Learning
(08/1/2012 - 07/31/2017) Principal Investigator: Steve Ornstein, MD, Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine.
Sponsor: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

The goal of this project is to expand the PPRNet research team with investigators that research care for the underserved and patient activation, improve our readiness to respond to a broad scope of rapid cycle funding announcements planned for RCPC, and further enhance our infrastructure and activities for disseminating and implementing research findings through our current mission, will be enhanced using several approaches: clinical performance reports, network meetings, practice site visits, our web page, and web 2.0 applications comprising webinars and social media tools.

A strong primary health care system is needed to improve our nation’s well-being, and research in primary care is both relatively under-developed and critical. This project is intended to further develop the infrastructure of PPRNet, a long-standing successful practice-based primary care research network, and enhance its ability to conduct research critical for helping improve our primary healthcare system.


2) Translating Medication Safety Research into Primary Care Practice – Reducing ADEs from Anticoagulants, Diabetes Agents and Opioids
(10/01/2014 - 9/30/2017) Principal Investigator: Andrea Wessell, PharmD, Research Associate Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine.
Sponsor: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

The goal of this project is to engage primary care patients, caregivers, providers and practice staff to help define quality measures for ADEs and actionable, preventive strategies that can be broadly implemented in primary care practices


3) Reducing Overuse in Primary Care through Safe and Effective Health Information Technology

(9/30/2015 – 9/29/2018) Principal Investigator: Cara Litvin, MD, Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics.
Sponsor: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

The products of Aim 1 will help better assess the epidemiology of overuse in primary care and serve as tools to help clinicians reduce overuse. The findings from Aim 2 will lead to new evidence on strategies for using HIT safely and effectively in the primary care setting to reduce overuse and improve patient safety. The goals of this project are directly aligned with AHRQ’s priority areas of focus to make health care safer and improve health care affordability and efficiency. The findings from this project will be applicable to the tens of thousands of primary care providers who have adopted EHRs in the United States.



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