Original Article

Patient Visits to a Midwestern Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network: A Comparison to Two National Primary Care Data Sets

Authors: John M. Pascoe, MD, MPH, David R. Little, MD, MS, Shalini G. Forbis, MD, MPH, Eric J. Slora, PhD
diagnostic:95982

Abstract

Background: Regional primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs) have made important contributions to the primary care literature, but have not been well-described. This study compares pediatric patient characteristics within a new regional PBRN to pediatric patient characteristics from two previously published national data sets.


Methods: Descriptive patient data were collected by 25 Southwestern Ohio Ambulatory Research Network (SOAR-Net) clinicians between July 2003 and June 2004. These data were compared to pediatric patient characteristics from 57 Pediatric Research in Office Setting clinicians and 33 primary care pediatric clinicians who participated in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survery.


Results: SOAR-Net patients were almost twice as likely to use Medicaid (41.9% vs 22.0%/22.4%, p = 0.0001). SOAR-Net patients also were more likely to be African-American (23.7% vs 7.5%/17.6%, p = 0.002). About one third of patients in each sample were seen for a well visit.


Conclusion: Regional networks with unique characteristics, such as a large number of Medicaid patients and/or many underserved minority patients have the potential to make significant contributions to primary care research by focusing on problems experienced within those segments of a population (e.g., indigent children and their families).


Key Points


* The Southwestern Ohio Ambulatory Research Network’s (SOAR-Net’s) similarities with the two national samples of network patient characteristics include similar mean ages of the patients in the samples and similar gender distribution as well as similar proportions of patients seen for well-child care; on the other hand, patients in the SOAR-Net sample were more likely to be African-American and more likely to have Medicaid health insurance compared with these national samples.


* Regional practice-based research networks (PBRNs) have the potential to make significant contributions to the PBRN literature by focusing on problems/issues experienced by certain segments of the population (eg, indigent children and their families).


* Consortia of national networks, such as the Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS), with regional networks like SOAR-Net may provide national geographic diversity as well as the means to over-sample specific subpopulations of interest, such as children receiving Medicaid health insurance.

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