Historically, APBRN's focus has been on electronic data collection and transfer from remote sites, and translating research into practice at the point of care with the aid of PDA and web-based technology. Any topic of particular relevance to primary care in community-based settings will be considered for study, ranging from quality improvement to disease-specific protocols. Research proposals originated by member physicians are especially encouraged. To propose a study or idea, please contact the Coordinating Center to request a worksheet that can help you think through the process of designing a practice based project.
New! RDOC - Rural Diabetes Online Care www.ruraldoc.org
NIH / NIDDK (2005-2009)
RDOC is an online CME intervention to improve the clinical management of patients with diabetes in rural communities throughout the South. Developed by an experienced and dedicated multidisciplinary team of researchers, it was carefully designed to deliver evidence-based information and tools that are useful in daily practice. Physicians and staff can not only benefit from the study’s content and activities, but can also earn a full year’s worth of no-cost CME/CEU credit and up to $500 (one physician per practice). RDOC is only open to primary care physicians in select rural counties in select Southern states. For more information, please visit RDOC at www.ruraldoc.org and click on "FAQ" in the lower right-hand corner.
Ongoing / Recent
ePCRN - electronic Primary Care Research Network www.epcrn.org
NIH Roadmap Initiative (2005-2008)
The creation of a national electronic network connecting physicians, medical centers and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the aim of a new initiative involving the APBRN. The project is part of NIH’s Roadmap for medical research, a series of initiatives designed to transform the nation's medical research capabilities and speed movement of research discoveries from bench to bedside. It is funded by a three-year grant awarded to the Federation of Practice Based Research Networks (FPBRN), in association with the American Academy of Family Physicians and the University of Minnesota. The APBRN was one of only 10 networks initially selected to participate in building the (ePCRN). This electronic infrastructure will potentially connect every primary care physician in the nation with researchers at universities and NIH. The goal is to accelerate the pace of discovery and application of knowledge to develop new primary care prevention strategies, diagnostics and treatments.
PDA-based Interventions for Smoking and Unhealthy Diet
This study tested PDA-based protocols to guide brief interventions for tobacco use and unhealthy diet, and assessed the utility of using community health advisors (CHAs) to support patients in making physician-recommended behavior changes. Using PDAs, physicians were guided through brief "5-A" (Ask, Assess, Advise, Assist, Arrange) interventions during routine office visits. The protocols proved an easy-to-use tools for promoting healthy behaviors that can be easily integrated into daily practice and adapted to address a variety of health problems. The CHAs served as liaisons between physicians and local health organizations and assisted patients in following through on their doctors' advice to quit smoking and/or lose weight. Eight physicians in five local practices participated. Over half of the 200 patients who received interventions expressed a need for support and information far beyond that received during brief office visits.
Building the Alabama Practice Based Research Network
Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (2002-2004)
For this project, APBRN received infrastructure and research support to enhance its capacity to
conduct research and to translate research findings into practice using PDAs. Infrastructure goals were to recruit new members; assess members' technical capacity and needs,
and practice population demographics; provide assistance and training in PDA
use in clinical practice; and assist in achieving IRB training. Research goals
were to test the
feasibility of using PDAs for data collection and as an aid to point-of-care
assessment and counseling, addressing questions such as: What level of time and
resources are required to conduct clinical data collection using PDAs? What are
the barriers and how can they be overcome? Does this type of technical
assistance create a teachable moment for the patient that could enhance patient
compliance with physician recommendations? The overarching question was: Will use of PDAs aid physicians' in delivering health messages, and result in improved
patient health? Using the 5-A model, PDA intervention protocols were developed
based on the clinical practice guidelines for tobacco use and obesity (the two target
behaviors) and field tested by 16 APBRN member physicians, who delivered the
interventions to over 800 patients.
(Pilot Studies & Assessments)