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High Plains Research Network

The High Plains Research Network (HPRN) is a practice based research network that consists of rural primary care practices, hospitals, health care facilities, and communities located in eastern rural Colorado.  HPRN is committed to providing excellent rural health care by translating the best scientific evidence into everyday clinical practice.

HPRN is part of the SNOCAP family of practice-based research networks. As such, we conduct research and quality improvement programs that reflect the social setting of primary care practice, including practice organization, patient population, and the community.

Why do research in eastern Colorado?

Years ago, prestigious medical journals reported that small rural hospitals and primary care doctors did not provide as good of care as specialists in large hospitals. The founder of HPRN, Jack Westfall, MD, didn’t believe this. Since its inception in 1997, HPRN has worked with practices and communities to provide evidence of the excellent care provided in the rural high plains using research methods and evaluation tools. In doing so, we find out the best way to improve medical care for multiple diseases eastern rural Colorado and ensure that the rural experience is included in the primary care and public health research world.

Engaging the Community

HPRN conducts its program in the primary care, hospital, and community settings.The HPRN Community Advisory Council and Medical Advisory Council guides and informs the work done by HPRN.  These local residents help the research team conduct work that is relevant to the community of practices and people living in eastern Colorado.

The High Plains Research Network is in the process of expanding its service and programs. Click here to read about HPRN's research projects and programs.

Study Highlight 

Implementing Technology and Medication Assisted Treatment and Team Training in Rural Colorado 

(IT MATTTRs™ Colorado) 

Eastern Colorado (the High Plains Research Network region) has seen a 300% increase in the rate of deaths due to drug overdose in the last decade, the majority of these are related to opioids. While OUD can be effectively treated with medication assisted treatment (MAT), only 10-15% of people in need of treatment receive it. This is not acceptable. 

To change the trajectory of this epidemic, the High Plains Research Network (HPRN) received funding from the Agency for Healthcare and Quality to implement a multi-component program in a 24-county region of rural eastern Colorado and the San Luis Valley. Inspired by calls for help from local primary care practices and community members, Implementing Technology and Medication Assisted Treatment and Team Training in Rural Colorado (IT MATTTRs™ Colorado) (link to here or above or both) aims to increase access to MAT for OUD in local, rural primary care practices. The project includes:

  1. The “Have You Met MAT?” and “MAT for OUD in the SLV” community awareness campaigns created in partnership with local community members to increase awareness and knowledge of OUD and MAT. Patients will better understand their options for treatment – and obtain it locally.
  2. Support for provider waiver training to prescribe buprenorphine. Courses and free and providers can receive monetary incentive for completing the training. 
  3. A comprehensive MAT team-based training program for full primary care and behavioral health teams.  

Since the start of IT MATTTRS, the number of providers in the study region with their DEA waiver to prescribe buprenorphine has increased from two to almost 30.  Over 40 practices have participated in the IT MATTTRs Primary Care Team Training.  

Provider and Practice Team Training is now available statewide. For more information, contact ​