Welcome to December, everyone! Last month the ADVANCE team was quite busy with writing new proposals as well as disseminating study findings through papers and conference presentations.

The ADVANCE network also reached a milestone: there are now just over 4 million distinct patients in the ADVANCE network data warehouse. I hesitate to celebrate this milestone as it may be due to more people needing the services of safety net clinics, but it is still noteworthy for our network. Given that when ADVANCE started just four years ago we had only 1.6 million patients, this shows quite a bit of growth in a very short time. It appears the added patients were due to normal growth for our network rather than a spike due to a particular cause, as new patients are routinely added to clinic rosters over time.

Rachel Gold and I attend the American Medical Informatics Association annual conference in Washington, DC in early November. There was a lot of focus on social determinants of health (SDOH) both on the data collection side as well as the utility of such data in the clinical setting. I led a panel on the SDOH topic, and Rachel also participated in a separate SDOH panel. And of course in my presentation I promoted collaborative research with ADVANCE and spoke about all the great work the team does.

Around the same time, ADVANCE Project Director, Vance Bauer, and Scientific Manager, Molly Krancari, flew to Washington D.C. for the 2017 PCORI Annual Meeting. Molly shares conference highlights including Alan Alda’s keynote address in her 2017 PCORI Annual Meeting Recap.

Back at home, ADVANCE Patient Engagement Panel (PEP) Co-Coordinators, Nate Warren and Nikki Stover, have restructured the patient engagement process in order to better utilize the expertise of our patient advisors, align support efforts between OCHIN and our partners, and improve funding appropriation. In order to provide clarity of expectations and opportunities with this new process, patient engagement guides are being developed and will be made available to our partners after the start of the new year.

We’ve also recently submitted a renewal application to extend the support through August of 2018.  The Health Disparities Collaborative Research Group (CRG) fosters collaboration among Research Interest Groups and with other PCORnet CRGs to build and execute research projects that address disparities in healthcare.  The current funding supporting the work of this CRG is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017. Our application materials described our successes in developing a multi-network CRG, our ability to build and execute research projects, our engagement with patients and other stakeholders, the CRG’s impact on PCORnet research, and how we have contributed to the sustainability of the PCORnet.  The awardees will be announced on December 11, and if selected to be awarded, the new contract date will start on January 2, 2018.

I hope you all have a wonderful December and enjoy the holiday season. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or others on our ADVANCE team with any questions, comments, or other feedback.