PCORnet® 2020: current state, accomplishments, and future directions

J Clin Epidemiol. 2021 Jan;129:60-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.09.036. Epub 2020 Sep 28.


Objective: To describe PCORnet, a clinical research network developed for patient-centered outcomes research on a national scale.

Study design and setting: Descriptive study of the current state and future directions for PCORnet. We conducted cross-sectional analyses of the health systems and patient populations of the 9 Clinical Research Networks and 2 Health Plan Research Networks that are part of PCORnet.

Results: Within the Clinical Research Networks, electronic health data are currently collected from 337 hospitals, 169,695 physicians, 3,564 primary care practices, 338 emergency departments, and 1,024 community clinics. Patients can be recruited for prospective studies from any of these clinical sites. The Clinical Research Networks have accumulated data from 80 million patients with at least one visit from 2009 to 2018. The PCORnet Health Plan Research Network population of individuals with a valid enrollment segment from 2009 to 2019 exceeds 60 million individuals, who on average have 2.63 years of follow-up.

Conclusion: PCORnet's infrastructure comprises clinical data from a diverse cohort of patients and has the capacity to rapidly access these patient populations for pragmatic clinical trials, epidemiological research, and patient-centered research on rare diseases.

Keywords: Big data; Clinical research network; Distributed data network; Electronic health records; Health plan research network; Learning health system; PCORnet; Pragmatic clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research* / methods
  • Biomedical Research* / organization & administration
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods
  • Information Services / organization & administration*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome*