Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs) in the Era of Integrated Delivery Systems

J Am Board Fam Med. 2015 Sep-Oct;28(5):658-62. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2015.05.140353.


Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) have been in existence for several decades, and they provide one mechanism to conduct research outside of academic research centers. Two transformative changes to the practice environment pose significant challenges to the manner in which PBRNs have functioned in the past and require changes to their current activities. The widespread introduction of electronic health records and the organization of practices into often hospital-dominated integrated delivery systems change the manner in which medicine is practiced, administered, and financed. Research funders are committed to extending research into communities, although we have yet to learn how to conduct these activities efficiently. We describe a number of operational challenges to this transformation, and we also propose ways to address these challenges and improve the quality and efficiency through which research is conducted. PBRNs can ensure their relevance in the research environment by adapting to this new era.

Keywords: Electronic Medical Records; Practice-based Research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Family Practice / organization & administration
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • United States