There are many AMIA working groups, and primary care physicians are often active in those settings. Their work may not be well known to the FP/PCWG.
This past year several directors in EMR research projects were interviewed to introduce the FP/PCWG membership the activities of these pioneers.
The first director interviewed was Steve Ornstein, M.D. He is the director of PPRNET (Practice Partner Research Network). At the time of the interview PPRNET may have been the largest EMR-based, primary care research network in the country. PPRNET is a member of the Federation of Practice Based Research Networks (FPBRN). This network was set up to be physician based and allow learning and research designed to improve health care in the member practices and elsewhere in the U.S.. The network was founded in May, 1995. The first data collection began in November, 1995. The first member meeting was in June of 1996. The first database was assembled in January, 1997. Studies within the network began in February, 1997 and the first clinical study was published in February, 1999. As of July, 1999 the network was composed of 70 sites and growing. The sites include 389 physicians spread over 26 states.
Activities within the network include: 1)recruiting and retaining participating sites; 2) database maintenance, which is collected through data entry, mailed extracts, and quarterly database updates; 3) individual practice reports; 4) a Web Page; 5) active projects; and 6) presentations. The ongoing projects include: 1)Top Ten Diagnoses for the practices involved; 2) "Enhancing Adherences with Anti-Depressants", a clinical trial; 3) "CHF and Thyroid Disease"; 4) "Childhood Obesity", which was published in the Journal of Family Practice, 7/98; 5) Impact of EMR on the practice; and 6) "Improved Care for CVD and Stroke" (at the RFP stage). Several other publications arising out of PPRNET activities include "Using the EMR", "Treatment of Recurrent Otitis Media After Practice Treatment Fails", and "Quality of Care for Chronic Illness in Primary Care."
The practice reports contain practice descriptions, data quantity and quality reports, and practice analysis regarding topics such as DM, HTN, CHD, URI and preventative services. The report information may also support a practices commitment to quality care and is helpful in presenting supporting documentation to insurance companies requests.
The supportive staff of PPRNET is at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Its newsletter, The Partner http://www.musc.edu/pprnet/, discusses current projects and activities. Its members benefit as research provides a wider knowledge base for continued education. Anyone interested in participating in PPRNET is encouraged to contact Steve Ornstein, M.D.ORNSTESM@musc.edu or Ruth Jenkins JENKINRG@smtpgw2.musc.edu at MUSC for further information.