Objective: To describe and communicate data collected in the CHEER (Creating Healthcare Excellence through Education and Research) infrastructure proof-of-concept study to facilitate understanding of the potential capabilities of practice-based research networks and to present pilot data for development of future research initiatives.
Study design: Prospective observational study of CHEER infrastructure operational capacity using a convenience sample of all patients presenting to the practices with tinnitus, dizziness, or a combination of these symptoms.
Setting: The CHEER network of community and academic practice sites.
Subjects and methods: The data collection exercise collected demographic, clinical, treatment, and health-related quality-of-life surveys on tinnitus, dizziness, and migraine disorders. Descriptive analysis of the data is presented.
Results: Of the sites in the CHEER network, 73% (16/22) successfully enrolled subjects; a total of 1532 patients were enrolled in 8 months. Tinnitus alone, dizziness alone, and both occurred in 28%, 34%, and 29%, respectively. Patients complaining of tinnitus and dizziness had lower quality of life than those sufferers with 1 disorder. Migraine was associated with 27% of patients. The most frequent diagnoses for patients with tinnitus and dizziness were Ménière disease (34%), vertiginous migraine (18%), and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (16%).
Conclusion: Descriptive data on patients with common disorders can be rapidly collected within the framework of a practice-based research network. The data in this study provide valuable pilot information on the targeted disorders, providing a baseline for development of future epidemiological data and clinical trials.