Background: Community health centers (CHCs) have a long tradition of promoting clinical programs, evaluating existing programs and engaging in quality improvement activities. They can benefit from more support in access to and integration of contemporary, cutting-edge patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) findings into practice to respond to patient chronic care needs.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: AllianceChicago (AC) proposes the Engagement for Research and Evidence sharing to Augment Community Health (E-REACH) project to build infrastructure and capacity to democratize research findings so CHC clinicians have more access to PCOR/CER relevant to their clinical practice and patient needs, and to support CHC clinicians in applying this knowledge in practice to improve patients’ health status and experience. Based in Chicago, Illinois, AC is a Health Center-Controlled Network (HCCN) with 80 collaborating safety net CHCs in 18 states.
Objectives: To improve organizational capacity to disseminate PCORI-funded PCOR/CER findings to support CHC clinicians in understanding and responding to the chronic health needs of their patients.
- Identify gaps in chronic disease care and outcomes among CHC patients within the AC network and the research and practice priorities among CHC clinicians
- Identify related PCORI-funded studies and tools based on data collected and ascertain relevance and applicability of research findings for CHC clinicians
- Optimize and expand existing synchronous and asynchronous dissemination channels incorporating end user feedback
- Disseminate PCORI-funded research findings synchronously and asynchronously and support CHC clinicians on how to apply evidence within their own clinical settings
- Evaluate and sustain dissemination strategies
Projected Outcomes and Outputs:
Short-term outcomes during the project period include:
- Increased understanding of chronic disease care and outcomes and CHC clinician priorities
- Query and survey results
- Identified PCORI-funded research studies and tools relevant to CHC patient and clinician populations
- Literature review
- Environmental scan
- Focus group
- Expanded reach of PCORI-funded research findings to CHC clinicians
- Synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities
- E-REACH Implementation Toolkit
- Gain understanding of CHC clinician satisfaction with user experience and success of capacity building strategies
- Survey and interview results
Medium-term outcomes (zero to two years post project period) include:
- Increased resource and training content
- Number of new resources
- Number of continuing education offerings
- Increased access
- Percentage change in clinicians accessing PCORI-funded research findings and tools
- Number of clinicians participating in interactive sessions
- Increased knowledge and confidence
- Percentage of clinicians reporting greater familiarity of PCOR/CER concepts, knowledge of PCOR/CER evidence, confidence in applying evidence to practice
Long-term outcomes (three and more years post project period) include:
- Improved capacity for clinicians to access and synthesize and respond to chronic health conditions
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: A project Advisory Board of CHC patients, CHC stakeholder representatives and physician researchers will ensure project outputs are valuable and understandable and match CHC clinician needs. Community health center clinicians across the AC network will help guide the course of E-REACH activities and dissemination of results. This diverse workforce includes medical, dental, mental health and substance use disorders, and other professionals. Feedback received through surveys, interviews and other evaluation metric tracking methods will be fed back into the project through iterative processes of improvement during the entire two-year project period.
Project Collaborators: Health Choice Network will design and implement the evaluation plan as the external evaluator for E-REACH. Health Choice Network is a nonprofit organization based in Florida that has provided integrated services to CHCs for nearly 30 years.