Objective: Research in practice-based research networks (PBRNs) is hampered by difficulty managing, identifying, and enrolling potential subjects. Well-designed informatics applications can greatly improve these processes. Methods: We considered a literature review, discussion with PBRN researchers, and personal experience to outline important principles to apply when considering electronic data collection in a PBRN. We provide specific working examples of electronic means we use to improve data collection and patient enrollment. Results: Our PBRN has screened more than 18,000 patients and enrolled more than 6000 study subjects in 5 years. Less than 2% of potentially eligible patients are missed by our research assistants. We achieved this high rate of success through extensive integration of the ResNet infrastructure (research databases and personnel) with an electronic medical record (EMR) system and computerized provider order entry. We make extensive use of widely used standards for data storage, definition, and transmission to ensure data reusability. We successfully implemented a real-time means to identify follow-up patients. Conclusion: Electronic data collection can greatly facilitate PBRN research, particularly by improving data management and identification of eligible patients. Key principles to ensure successful implementation include use of data standards and centralized electronic data management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Family Practice