Infrastructure and Networks

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Research Infrastructure

AllianceChicago is at the core of a national network of organizations and clinical sites through which participating safety net health centers share health information technology and other resources to promote efficiency, quality and access. Built around a shared electronic health record (EHR), our infrastructure is supported and strengthened by our sites’ commitment to research, by an established relationship with Northwestern Medicine’s academic health center, and most importantly, by our commitment to improve quality of care for vulnerable populations. As a result, AllianceChicago is extremely well positioned to support research aimed at advancing equity in clinical preventive services.

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Health Information Technology
For nearly 20 years, AllianceChicago has been developing infrastructure that supports clinical quality improvement. A key element is EHR hosting that supports 34 health centers operating out of over 200 urban and rural sites in 14 states. The centers serve a diverse, underserved, high risk set of populations, including individuals who are uninsured, poor, minority, non-English speaking and homeless.

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Learn more about AllianceChicago’s Health Information Technology.

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Research Environment
Our research team is passionate about conducting and supporting studies that engage communities and clinicians in the most critical issues facing vulnerable populations to improve the quality of care. We have productive, ongoing relationships with academic partners, nursing centers, public health departments and other safety net community organizations, and consider it a priority to share research results with as wide an audience as possible through an extensive array of publications and presentations.

Given our robust EHR system and customized data warehouse, we have the capacity to carry out meaningful projects, both locally and nationwide. Standardized data entry allows for both individual patient and population-level analyses. Research areas of interest include:

  • Quality measurement and improvement research
  • Health literacy
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Comparative effectiveness
  • Medical device integration
  • Telemedicine
  • Health information exchange
  • Health disparities

Please note: The use of CHCs’ data is ultimately at the discretion of the individual CHC.

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Learn more about AllianceChicago’s Data Analytics.

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Institutional Review Boards
AllianceChicago community health centers have their own unique research review processes and may include formal Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and/or in-person presentations to community review boards. We help our collaborating researchers navigate the research review process by serving as an administrative liaison. AllianceChicago’s IRB of Record is the Chicago Department of Public Health Institutional Review Board.

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Research Networks

AllianceChicago is a part of the following research networks:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN): AllianceChicago is an AHRQ-certified PBRN, a group of primary care clinicians and practices working together to answer community-based health care questions and translate research findings into practice. PBRNs engage clinicians in quality improvement activities and an evidence-based culture in primary care practice to improve the health of all Americans.

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Chicago Area Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (CAPriCORN): Supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), CAPriCORN is a clinical data research network (CDRN) whose mission is to develop, test and implement policies and programs that will improve health care quality, health outcomes and health equity for the richly diverse populations of the metropolitan Chicago region and beyond.

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Chicago Consortium for Community Engagement (C3): C3 is comprised of selected individuals from Chicago’s three recipient universities of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program: Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as from Rush University, AllianceChicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health. The mission of C3 is to maximize the impact of community-engaged research and to improve population health and health equity throughout greater Chicago. See here for more information. 

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Community Health Applied Research Network (CHARN): CHARN is a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded research network that seeks to build capacity to conduct patient-centered outcome research to improve patient care at federally supported community health clinics. These clinics serve people who are significantly underrepresented in traditional health research, including those who are uninsured, poor and members of racial and ethnic minority groups.