Meta-network Learning and Research Center (Meta-LARC)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a funding announcement for Research Centers in Primary Care Practice Based Research and Learning. The Iowa Research Network (IRENE) worked with L.J. Fagnan, MD at the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network and submitted a proposal.

The new Research Center in Practice-Based Research is a collaboration of six well-established practice-based research networks (PBRNs) that joined together to create the Meta-network Learning and Research Center (Meta-LARC). Meta-LARC’s mission is to sustain a consortium of PBRNs dedicated to increasing the quality, effectiveness and safety of primary care through accelerated research and collaborative learning.Meta-LARC members include the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN, Center home), the Iowa Research Network (IRENE), State Networks of Colorado Ambulatory Practices and Partners (SNOCAP), Oregon’s Safety Net West Practice-based Research Network (SNW), the Quebec Practice Based Research Network (QPBRN), and the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN). These PBRNs are comprised of 533 primary care practices and over 6,000 clinicians who provide care for an estimated three million patients in rural, urban, and underserved communities. Combined, the networks have conducted over 200 studies and published nearly 200 scientific publications.

The specific aims of Meta-LARC are described below:

Aim 1: Foster the capabilities of six PBRNs and 533 primary care practices through a robust collaboration designed to conduct research to improve the quality, effectiveness and safety of primary care.

We will build on the strengths of each network when responding to research opportunities and enlist the expertise of investigators, biostatisticians, bioinformaticists, and community practices from the collaborating institutions to form effective interdisciplinary teams. Studies will be appropriately powered and designed to take into account the variability across sites. All six networks have identified practice redesign and transformation into Medical Homes and Neighbor-hoods as a priority.

Aim 2: Accelerate the conduct of PBRN research through a well designed, high functioning common infrastructure that enables the efficient conduct of research.  

The Administrative Core and Research Core will be housed within ORPRN at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), but will draw from best practices and methods of the collaborating PBRNs and the PBRN literature. Each of the cores’ structures and operating procedures are designed to be nimble in responding to research opportunities, effective in implementing research protocols across a variety of clinic models, and positioned to advance PBRN study methodology through best practices frameworks and inter-PBRN synergy. Meta-LARC will develop opportunities and a structure for senior investigators to partner with junior researchers and research fellows to understand and become familiar with PBRN research methods.

Aim 3: Promote continuous learning and sharing across Meta-LARC networks and practices to accelerate the dissemination of knowledge and bi-directional communication.  

Through a structured learning collaborative and the use of the online Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)-developed ShareCenter tool, networks and their member clinicians will be exposed to research findings more quickly, be empowered to communicate with colleagues, and be encouraged to participate more fully in PBRN research. Meta-LARC will emphasize knowledge translation research and uptake into primary care practices, using the methods and approaches developed by the QPBRN and their Canadian collaborators. 

Network and Headquarters Location Institutional Affiliations Principal Investigator
ORPRN—Portland, OR& Oregon Health and Science University Lyle Fagnan, MD (Consortium PI)
IRENE—Iowa City, IA University of Iowa College of Medicine Barcey Levy, PhD, MD
QPBRN—Quebec City, Quebec, Canada University of Laval Medical School France Légaré, MD, PhD
SNW—Portland, OR  OCHIN, Kaiser NW, OHSU Jennifer DeVoe, MD
SNOCAP (Consortium of 3 Networks)—Denver, CO  University of Colorado School of Medicine Donald Nease, MD
WREN—Madison, WI  University of Wisconsin School of Medicine Paul Smith, MD