A driving force for health equity

OCHIN-led ADVANCE CRN Awarded New Contract

By Mary Frances Ritchie, MPH, Research Associate

As a leader in collecting social determinants of health (SDH) data and understanding the impact of these SDH on access to care, healthcare utilization, health disparities, and clinical outcomes,  the OCHIN-led ADVANCE Clinical Research Network (CRN) has constructed one of the largest and most complete research data warehouses representative of safety net patients in the US.  In November, ADVANCE was awarded another two-year contract with a new funder, People-Centered Research Foundation (PCRF), to continue the work of PCORnet, as well as refining and expanding the Common Data Model (CDM) for more efficient, cost-effective conduct of research.

In the new phase, ADVANCE strengthen efforts to generate new research ideas, both internally and externally, and across other external research networks. ADVANCE will also continue building on existing research infrastructure to be more efficient in proposal/project management, support ongoing research operations, and improve engagement with our patients, providers, and network partners. 

As part of a national effort to streamline health care data collected and used for comparative effective and clinical outcomes research (see footnote 1). PCORnet was established in 2014 to bring together several CRNs, Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRNs), and Health Plan Research Networks (HPRN). In partnership through PCORnet, these networks have found a way to combine and organize data into a standard structure known as the Common Data Model (CDM). 

For the last four years, OCHIN has received funding to develop and improve infrastructure for conducting Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, and to be part of PCORnet. This has led OCHIN’s Practice-Based Research Network to create the Accelerating Data Value Across a Community Health Center Network (“ADVANCE”) in partnership with Health Choice Network (HCN) and Fenway Health

The ADVANCE Research Data Warehouse (RDW) ingests ambulatory data from OCHIN, Health Choice Network, and Fenway. These data are augmented by hospital and claims data in a subset of records.  Our partnership with Robert Graham Center/Health Landscape allows us to bring in community-level data to help assess environmental and external factors that impact health.  The ADVANCE RDW contains tables and fields defined for the PCORnet common data model, plus additional fields that the ADVANCE CRN has included for research purposes.  Many of these additional fields are elements unique to community health centers (CHCs) that collect data for Uniform Data System (UDS) and other CHC-related reporting purposes, which are typically not collected by non-CHC clinics. These fields include Federal Poverty Level, patient primary language, migrant/seasonal worker status, homeless status, and other key data.   

As of November 5, 2018, the ADVANCE RDW included data for nearly 4.65 million patients located in 24 states, 337 cities, and representing 1,118 clinic sites.  Of these, 52.7% are living below the Federal Poverty Level, 38.2% are Medicaid patients, 27.1% are uninsured, and 19.6% are Spanish speaking patients (see footnote 2). Please visit our ADVANCE Collaborative website to learn more. 


1.            About PCORnet. 2018; https://pcornet.org/about-pcornet/. Accessed November 12, 2018.

2.            ADVANCE Data. 2018; http://advancecollaborative.org/advancedata. Accessed November 12, 2018.