Alexander Fiks, MD, MSCE, a primary care pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, wears many hats, and he is adding one more with his recent appointment as director of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) network, which includes more than 700 U.S. practices.
When a pediatrician wonders whether a particular facet of day-to-day pediatric care delivery is useful and effective, PROS can help turn that question into a project that can be researched throughout the network to improve children’s health.
“Through this process, our research can be most responsive to the need of practices, practitioners, and the families they serve,” Dr. Fiks said.
For example, Dr. Fiks wondered how information technology could be used to improve health and healthcare decision-making, which led him to the creation of a national “super network” devoted to comparative effectiveness research (CER) based on electronic health record (EHR) clinical data. The Comparative Effectiveness Research Through Collaborative Electronic Reporting Consortium (CER2) comprises 222 sites across 27 states and 2,119 practitioners.
CER2 investigators are leveraging EHR data from more than 1.2 million pediatric patients to conduct research projects focused on pediatric medication safety and effectiveness, as well as other areas including preventative care, treatment of acute conditions, and chronic disease management. Seven networks are participating in CER2, including PROS and CHOP’s Pediatric Research Consortium (PeRC).
In his new leadership role, Dr. Fiks aims to broaden the range of PROS studies to include large clinical trials, secondary analyses of EHR data from practices, and longitudinal surveys of practitioners, according to an AAP news release. In addition to its work in epidemiology and health services research, the network will welcome quality-oriented research.
“Key to achieving these goals will be making sure that researchers and practitioners around the country know that PROS is interested in learning about their research and ideas,” Dr. Fiks said. “In this way, PROS can best serve as a resource to improve the effectiveness of primary care.”
At CHOP, Dr. Fiks is associate medical director for PeRC; associate director of the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness; a founding member of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics; and a PolicyLab faculty member. He also mentors multiple faculty and academic fellows, and is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fiks was an associate director of PROS since September 2013.