Project Summary

A Path Towards a Learning Health System (PaTH) CRN is a partnership of 12 academic and clinical health systems across the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions of the United States that is led by the University of Pittsburgh.

PaTH is committed to incorporating patients in the entire research process and creating and supporting patient-centered outcomes research that will have real-world impact on health delivery and healthcare decisions. The network is committed to providing the data and research infrastructure to develop and support diverse, patient-centered research and has advanced efforts to integrate patient-reported outcomes into the PCORnet Common Data Model. This effort, along with linkages to complementary data sources such as claims data from Medicare, provides a more complete picture of patients’ healthcare experience and is essential in providing the necessary depth of data for real-world evidence studies. Other areas of focus include an emphasis on data quality; the integration of patient perspectives into single IRB processes; and the efficient recruitment of patients for health research studies that are of interest to them, in coordination with clinical care.

To maximize research opportunities, PaTH actively engages with a multitude of different stakeholders, including patients, researchers, clinicians, and health system leaders. The network strives to integrate stakeholders throughout all aspects of the network and patient-centered research endeavors. To uphold PaTH’s patient-centric model, patient engagement is a network priority. This engagement is showcased through the MyPaTH Story Booth project, which invites patients and caregivers to share their stories and health journeys. This magnifies the patient voice while also creating an archive of key patient stakeholders that can be matched with researchers and patient-centered research projects. More information on this vital initiative can be found at the MyPaTH Story Booth web page.    

PaTH is governed by the Executive Committee (EC), which consists of the PaTH lead principal investigator (PI), PIs from each of the partnering sites, and patient partners. The EC is charged with providing clinical expertise and research guidance and overseeing the overall operations of the network. The EC’s work is informed by four subcommittees:

  • Policies and Processes Subcommittee, which provides insight on network procedures, business development, and stakeholder engagement
  • Information Technology Subcommittee, which oversees the network’s data infrastructure
  • Research Projects Subcommittee, which helps guide study implementation and prioritize future research
  • Research Ethics and Regulations Subcommittee, which oversees the network’s IRBs and policies regarding protections of research subjects

PCORnet is intended to serve as a national resource for conducting rapid, efficient, patient-centered observational and interventional randomized research that improves healthcare delivery and health outcomes. Over the course of this project period PaTH will enhance and optimize its infrastructure to support a variety of patient-centered studies by:

  • Ensuring meaningful engagement of patients, caregivers, clinicians, delivery systems, payors, and researchers, in all phases of the research process
  • Operating through a network model in which data remains at the source while allowing approved researchers within and outside the network to access it securely through a central point
  • Facilitating the public sharing of resources and reusable tools to make research more efficient and reproducible
  • Using the PCORnet Common Data Model, which standardizes the data collected when patients receive care so that it is comparable across health systems and can be used for patient-centered outcomes research
  • Using streamlined processes such as one central IRB for studies involving multiple systems and standardized data use agreements, to enable research to be quicker and more efficient
TitleA Path Towards a Learning Health System (PaTH)
Network DesignClinical Research Network
Lead PartnerUniversity of Pittsburgh
Other PartnersGeisinger Health System
Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Health Medical Center
Temple University Medical Center
The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University Medical Center
University of Michigan
University of Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research

About PCORnet® Clinical Research Networks (CRNs)

PCORI funded the development of PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, to make it easier and more efficient to conduct research. PCORnet is made up of Partner Networks that harness the power of large amounts of health data and patient partnerships. Clinical Research Networks (CRNs) are one type of network supported by PCORI. CRNs consist of two or more healthcare systems, including hospitals, integrated delivery systems, and federally qualified health centers. Each CRN transforms data gathered from routine patient care across its participating health systems to a consistent format, the Common Data Model (CDM), to enable rapid response to research-related questions.

Project Information

Kathleen McTigue, MD, MPH
University of Pittsburgh

Key Dates

December 2021


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: April 16, 2024