OCHRN Frequently Asked Questions




What is practice-based research?

As opposed to clinical research, practice-based research takes place in a clinician’s practice.  These projects focus on quality improvement and evidence-based research with the goal of achieving better patient health through better, more conscientious health care.


What is a practice-based research network?

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), “PBRNs are groups of…clinicians and practices working together to answer community-based health care questions and translate research findings into practice.”  PBRNs are often referred to and thought of as learning communities where clinicians collaborate to solve common frustrations and share best practices. 


What kind of topics does a PBRN study?

Examples of PBRN studies provided by AHRQ include:

·         Treatment of common diseases and symptoms, prevention and early diagnosis

·         Organization and clinical systems

·         Continuity and coordination of care

·         Clinical decision support

·         Impact of decisions made by patients about health care and health practices for themselves, their families and their communities

·         Dissemination and implementation research


What is a Practice Enhancement Assistant?

Often called PEAs or practice facilitators, practice enhancement assistants are individuals who develop a relationship with a group of practices over a period of time, in order to help them to evaluate and improve the quality of care they provide.  This is accomplished through practice audits and feedback, patient surveys, staff training, sharing of ideas among practices, coordination of quality improvement initiatives, and provision of specific materials and resources (flow sheets, computer training, etc.).  PEAs have three main roles: facilitation of practice improvements, facilitation of communication and facilitation of research. Each PEA is assigned to practices based on geographic location and research project participation, visiting on a predictable schedule, spending the day assisting the practice with identified objectives and obstacles, and meeting with the physicians and key support staff. 




Who can be members of OCHRN?

Any clinician (MD, DO, ARNP, PA) whose practice is located in the state of Oklahoma and who sees children patients is eligible to be a member of OCHRN.


Is the network only for pediatricians?

No.  OCHRN welcomes any clinician who shares the goal of improving the health care of children in the state of Oklahoma.  This could include pediatricians, primary care practitioners, hospitalists, ob/gyns and other disciplines.


Is the network only for OU physicians?

While the OCHRN administrative offices are located at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the network is not limited to OU graduates or current OU clinicians.  In order to have a positive, state-wide effect, we are eagerly welcome clinicians from other universities, health systems and employers.


How can I get involved?

If you are interested in becoming a member of OCHRN, please contact one of the two network coordinators: Christi Madden (Christi-Madden@ouhsc.edu) or Meg Walsh (Margaret-Walsh@ouhsc.edu).


What is the cost to participate in OCHRN?

Membership in OCHRN is free!


What is the benefit to me/my practice of participating in OCHRN?

You and your practice will benefit in several ways from membership in OCHRN.  This starts immediately when we add you to our listserv, which connects you to almost 100 clinicians throughout the state of Oklahoma.  You will also receive access to the latest medical information and to the clinical expertise of other OCHRN members and academics.  You can receive assistance with Maintenance of Certification requirements and have the opportunity to participate in projects that could help you earn MOC Part IV credits.  Additionally, by participating in studies, you have the opportunity to introduce quality improvement initiatives to your practice and work with Practice Enhancement Assistants and Academic Detailers to facilitate those changes.


Do I have to have research experience to be in OCHRN member?

No.  OCHRN members are not required to have any previous research experience.


What if I have a good idea, but don’t know how to frame it as a research project?

Communication is one of the most important elements of any research network.  If you have an idea that you think could be a good research topic, please communicate it to one of our two network coordinators: Christi Madden (Christi-Madden@ouhsc.edu) or Meg Walsh (Margaret-Walsh@ouhsc.edu).  They can work with you and our research team to shape the idea into a research proposal or to help answer your question through literature review.


Do I have to participate in every project?

No.  In fact, it might be best that you don’t!  OCHRN wants you to participate only in the projects that interest you.  That way, you and your team don’t get burnt out doing study after study, and the research data from each project is as accurate as possible. 

That being said, if you’re interested in all of our studies and your practice has the energy, go for it!


How can I learn more or have my questions answered?

For more information on OCHRN, please contact one of our two network coordinators: Christi Madden (Christi-Madden@ouhsc.edu) or Meg Walsh (Margaret-Walsh@ouhsc.edu).  You can also find us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/OCHRN

For more information on PBRNs, visit the AHRQ PBRN website at http://pbrn.ahrq.gov