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Leveraging Health Care Networks to Transform Effectiveness Research

NAMHC Concept Clearance


David Chambers, D.Phil.
Chief, Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch
Division of Services and Intervention Research


This initiative will stimulate research that will demonstrate the linking of existing health care databases to show feasibility of conducting effectiveness trials within existing networks.

Rationale and Description

Very large, well-characterized, and representative clinical samples are necessary to rapidly and cost-effectively pursue many mental health research questions, including tests of effective treatments within large patient populations, implementation of systemic interventions (e.g. collaborative care interventions) within large health care systems, and methods for delivering personalized care. Health care networks with searchable medical records offer potential platforms for recruiting appropriate samples of patients, clinicians, and health care clinics. This initiative encourages information technology bridges among existing health care networks with the goal of reengineering mental health effectiveness and services research. The intent is to examine the feasibility of linked networks for identifying thousands of suitable case and control subjects for basic and applied investigations of mental illness in practice settings. Possible interventions using these linked networks can be targeted at the individual patient, provider, or system level. Applicants will propose methods for linking existing health care databases and pilot projects that rapidly screen, recruit, and consent subjects for participation in intervention and services studies within these networks.

Scientific areas of interest include:

  • Identifying patients with specific clinical signatures for future clinical trials (e.g. multi-component interventions for treating persons with co-occurring disorders)
  • Investigating interventions through which treatment can be improved across large mental health systems.

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