Background and proposed solution: Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are a mechanism for patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). There is a history of PBRN and PCOR in some parts of Colorado, but they are less common in western Colorado. Western Colorado differs from other parts of the state in many ways and would benefit from increased capacity to conduct PCOR. The project team proposes to address the lack of PCOR in western Colorado by developing a strong regional PBRN, Partners Engaged in Achieving Change in Health Network (PEACHnet), with a foundation of equal partnerships and engagement with patients and stakeholders.
The aims of this project are:
- To create a network of patients and stakeholders engaged in PCOR
- To develop a community-driven research agenda
- To use technology to optimize health communication in this rural area
The long-term objectives are to increase PCOR capacity and improve health outcomes in western Colorado.
Project activities include patient and stakeholder engagement, education about PCOR, developing a priority research agenda, forming a regional advisory board for PEACHnet, and developing a web-based platform for network communication and a Community Health Dashboard for use by patients and stakeholders.
Projected outcomes are:
- Engagement of at least 10 communities and 50 individuals across western Colorado, providing a strong network of patients and stakeholders interested in PCOR
- A photo essay of community strengths and health concerns, providing an understanding of community strengths and health concerns
- Community-driven research agenda, providing a starting point for network PCOR projects
- A strong regional advisory board (RAB), to ensure that patients and stakeholders are full partners in the research process
- A governance structure for the network to ensure that the community voice is at the forefront and to encourage transparency and trust
- A PCOR question, concept paper, and specific aims for proposal development to provide a starting point for network research
- A web-based platform for network communication to bridge geographic communication challenges
- A plan for development of a Community Health Dashboard to allow users to participate in the design of a mechanism for access to community health data
The patients and stakeholders involved will be diverse residents of western Colorado. Project staff will work with established community organizations to identify patients and stakeholders in western Colorado. They will initially be invited to small group meetings. Individuals who are interested will be asked to invite another patient or stakeholder to attend as well. Snowball techniques will also be used if these techniques are inadequate. One patient or stakeholder from each community will be invited to participate in the RAB, with attention to diversity of membership. In addition, a larger group will be identified for future network participation. Patients and stakeholders will have many options for frequent engagement, from infrequent small group meetings or surveys to involvement in the RAB, with monthly engagement. People who choose this level of engagement will be involved in the entire research process, from generation of questions to dissemination of results.
Project collaborators include Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Quality Health Network (a regional health information exchange), the Regional Health Connector program staff, and Colorado Mesa University.