The Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network, or ACORN, is a collaborative partnership between primary care practices and a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. ACORN’s mission is to improve health and transform care delivery through primary care research and implementation. Clinical discoveries from ACORN-supported research have advanced primary care, influenced policy locally and nationally and improved the health of Virginians.
ACORN research priorities are determined by the interests of the member practices with support from VCU research team. Current priorities include but are not limited to:
- Patient and stakeholder engagement
- Behavioral and mental health
- Integrating clinical and community care
- Chronic illness
- Health information technology
- Patient-centered medical homes
- Team-based care
- Quality of care
ACORN practices include family medicine and general internal medicine offices throughout Virginia. Practices represent the entire spectrum of primary care, including community-based practices, members of integrated regional health systems, physician networks, residency training programs and independent private practices. To date, 76 practices have participated in ACORN research studies and 300 practices have been engaged in service and educational activities.
A key to ACORN’s value to member practices has been the collaborative nature of the work. Many ACORN projects rely on partnerships with health systems, universities, other practice-based research networks, community organizations, businesses, insurers and public health entities. The collaborations help to inform study ideas, carry out interventions, interpret and disseminate findings and ensure that positive study findings are implemented into practice and transform care.