The UCLA Primary Care Research Network (PCRN) was established within UCLA's network of community practices, with the goal of extending UCLA's research mission into settings that are typical of community-based patient care in Southern California. Since its inception, the Network has supported both patient and physician participation in research projects on a variety of topics, including alcohol use, healthy aging, and the quality of primary care-specialist interactions.
In 2002, the PCRN was recognized by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a “Practice-Based Research Network,” with a seed grant to support better integration of research into community-based patient care settings. This grant enabled the development of several new systems, including:
- A Web database to publicize and track research studies being conducted within the Network;
- A clinical data repository that integrates encounter, laboratory, and medication data from multiple sources to automatically feed back quality indicator data to individual clinicians, via the Medical Enterprise Intranet; and
- A forum for eliciting new research questions from opinion leaders within the Network.
The PCRN now includes 20 offices located throughout the West Side of Los Angeles. A total of 107 primary care physicians practice in the network, all of whom have UCLA faculty appointments. Of these, 84 are full-time clinicians and 23 are clinician-investigators or clinician-administrators. Among the 107 physicians, 65 are general internists, 28 are family physicians, 11 are pediatricians, and 3 are combined medicine-pediatrics practitioners..
PCRN physicians provide primary care to approximately 110,000 active patients, about half of whom have capitated managed care insurance, including Medicaid managed care health plans. Among these patients, 25% are over age 65, 18% are under age 18, and 28% identify themselves as a member of a racial or ethnic minority group. Patients’ self-reported races were 5% as Black or African American, 7% Asian, 2% Native American, and 62% White with the remainder “other” or “unidentified.” About 10% of patients identified themselves as Hispanic, which is maintained as a separate variable from race (in accordance with federal guidelines). There were 97,953 outpatient encounters at PCRN sites in the Fall, 2006 quarter.