The American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network (AAFP NRN) is applying as a national Practice-based Research Network Center of Excellence. Members of the AAFP NRN that have participated in major projects from past 5 years include 335 practices in 41 states. This application also includes partnerships with two other national networks and 10 regional networks. Together, these networks and researchers have a proven track record of executing a range of PBRN projects utilizing varied research methods such as card studies, demonstration projects, cluster randomized trials, patient-level randomized trials, translation and implementation projects at the practice and clinician level, and observational and prospective comparative effectiveness trials. Supported by 25 staff members that work across an average of 17 open studies per year, the AAFP NRN is a leading-edge, multidisciplinary research group that has conducted national trials requiring complex patient-level data collection. This group has demonstrated ability to rapidly respond to short turnaround funding opportunities. Using a formal, effective team-based grant writing approach and taking advantage of a national pool of potential principal investigators, the AAFP NRN routinely produces 15-25 proposals/year, many of them on very constrained development timelines. Additionally, the AAFP NRN plays a crucial role in accelerating the pace of translational research and practice by nurturing learning collaboratives. The AAFP NRN has recently sent a central role in the advancement of the re-use of electronic health record (EHR) data for research purposes through its administration of the DARTNet Collaborative. The Collaborative includes 80+ organizations, 400+ practices, and eight networks that contribute EHR data for research and quality improvement purposes. The DARTNet Collaborative, which has an established leadership core that has been meeting monthly for the last 18 months, will serve as the cornerstone for this grant. Combined with the hundreds of AAFP NRN member practices that are not a part of the DARTNet Collaborative, this organization will provide the quantity, diversity, and quality of research sites needed to greatly advance the science of PBRN research.
The American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network is an innovative national practice-based research network that has created a robust PBRN Center of Excellence by affiliating with 11 PBRNs, 15 academic institutions and 2 independent research groups. This group has demonstrated ability to conduct a variety of projects, including pioneering uses of electronic data.