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Scalable PArtnering Network


The objectives of SPAN are to develop a distributed research network (DRN) that is operable across a range of health-care systems; permits menu-driven querying of data; utilizes patient-level data for analyses; and has engaged and proactive governance of the network. Investigators are able to employ the SPAN query tool to conduct analyses preparatory-to-research, as well as complex multivariable analyses, using data marts built to specifically address comparative effectiveness research questions related to obesity and ADHD.

Quick Facts

  • PI: Matthew F. Daley, MD of Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Institute for Health Research
  • Funding agency: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Year funded: 2010
  • Related studies funded, since inception:  13
  • Website:

Primary Investigator

Matthew Daley, MD

Key Partners, Accomplishments, & Capabilities 

Participating Research Centers

  • Denver Health and Hospital Authority (Denver, CO)
  • Essentia Institute of Rural Health (Duluth, MN)
  • Geisinger Clinic (Danville, PA)
  • Group Health Cooperative (Seattle, WA)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc. (Boston, MA)
  • HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Institute for Health Research (Denver, CO) lead site
  • Kaiser Permanente Georgia, Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research (Atlanta, GA)
  • Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Center for Health Research (Honolulu, HI)
  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Division of Research (Oakland, CA)
  • Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Center for Research (Portland, OR)

Additional Partners

  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of Florida
  • University of Pennsylvania

Selected Accomplishments

  • Designed a distributed research network (DRN) that permitted menu-driven querying and analysis of patient-level data.
  • Expanded the scalability of the network by including integrated delivery systems and community partners.
  • Developed a governance plan for oversight of data access and sharing, operational and technical concerns, and potential conflicts of interest.
  • Built population-based cohorts for conducting CER.

Demonstrated Capabilities

The SPAN for CER network is a fully functional distributed research network (DRN) that has been implemented at 11 sites. It is actively used to conduct science through the access of individual-level data at participating sites and the use of SAS®, which has enhanced functionality. Scalability is demonstrated through the inclusion of two community health systems with different patient populations, healthcare delivery systems, and data environments.