AHRQ Innovations in Physician Physician Practice and Social Determinants of Health Data

NORC is conducting two separate data development initiatives commissioned by AHRQ to fill key research data gaps: Physician and Physician Practice Research Databases (3P-RD) and the Social Determinants of Health Research Databases (SDOH-RD). Both initiatives are aimed at supporting research on existing and emerging issues related to healthcare policy and clinical practice research while also complementing existing AHRQ resources.

The 3P-RD initiative is a feasibility study aimed at creating a prototype physician and physician practice research database. Using available administrative data, the 3P-RD will capture the census of active physicians and physician practices in a given state; the conditions for acquiring and using these data for AHRQ’s internal purposes; and the possibility of creating research databases from these data sources for public release. As part of this initiative, NORC is conducting an environmental scan of available data sources for physician and physician practices, focusing primarily on administrative sources; designing a building a prototype database; and completing a feasibility study based on information from the environmental scan and the experience designing and building the prototype database. After evaluating and implementing this proof of concept, NORC will identify options and provide recommendations for AHRQ’s consideration on how this prototype can be sustained as an established program.

The goal of the Social Determinants of Health Research Database (SDOH-RD) initiative is to create a database that can be used for research and policy analysis—one that builds on the strengths of existing efforts, addresses current gaps, and furthers AHRQ’s value-add footprint in the field. By identifying key gaps in existing data sources, the SDOH-RD initiative will focus on value-add domains that span socioeconomic characteristics and features of health care provider and insurance markets. NORC will acquire and use data to populate datasets; develop and use a coherent, standardized approach to construct variables; and develop and apply methods to create novel SDOH measures. The SDOH-RD database will allow researchers to analyze the relationships among SDOH factors and health outcomes. The SDOH-RD can be used as a stand-alone source as well as linked to other data resources such as the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the Healthcare Cost Utilization Project (HCUP).

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