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CCNR team giving a presenation

Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research

Nurses Shaping Nursing's Future

Nurses have been reduced too often to being providers of safe care rather than providers of quality care. Pursuit of quality nursing care requires a fresh, nurse-driven look at what quality care looks like. Effective, targeted use of nursing-centered patient-outcome data extracted from the electronic health record (EHR) can inform this nurse-generated picture of quality care.

The Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research (CCNR) has leveraged partnerships between nurses, informaticists, statisticians, and IT professionals to build a data-sharing infrastructure that helps isolate and capture the proper value of nursing as distinct from other elements of health care delivery.

CCNR Purpose and Principles

 Executive Summary

As US health care moves rapidly from a volume-based system (i.e., payments based on work performed) to a value-based system (i.e., payments based on outcomes achieved), every aspect of health care delivery is being evaluated.

Evaluation of nursing care reveals a significant disconnect: while nurses represent the biggest percentage of the health care workforce and have the most patient contact, nurses’ work is absent from or difficult to isolate in electronic health record (EHR) data. Without data that capture nurses’ contributions, chief nursing officers (CNOs) and other health care decision-makers are making suboptimal care delivery-related decisions.

In response to this urgent health care need, the Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research (CCNR) has built the first ever nursing-centered distributed data network: the Common Unified Patient-Indicator Data (CUPID) system. CUPID employs federated data architecture operationalized by PopMedNet open source software. CUPID is overseen and driven by a Nurse Scientist Research Group. The Nurse Scientists are supported by the CCNR Analytics Core, a statistical and research support unit providing advanced analytic services to CCNR members.

All in all, the CCNR empowers nurses to shape nursing’s future.​​​



The Mission of the CCNR is to:

  • capture and quantify quality nursing care by developing new, robust, nurse-sensitive patient-outcome metrics
  • offer membership in a distributed data federation that isolates and extracts nurse-sensitive patient-outcome data in EHR and provides timely, trended data visualizations to capture the impact of nursing care in near-real time.


The Vision of the CCNR is to optimize nurse-sensitive patient outcomes and maximize individual and population health by providing nurse leaders, nurse scientists, and nurse clinicians with the following:

  1. A physical and virtual think tank for developing nurse-driven queries and setting nurse-driven agendas.
  2. Statistical support for application of advanced, user-driven analytics.
  3. A powerful, targeted, and responsive IT tool for QI and benchmarking purposes.​


CCNR Faculty

CCNR Staff

  • Jason Weiss


  1. Sousa, K. H., Reeder, B., Bondy, J., Ozkaynak, M., & Weiss, J. (2017). The Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research: Providing trended nurse-sensitive patient-outcome data across entities. Journal of Nursing Administration, 47(6), 345-349.
  2. Sousa, K. H., Weiss, J., Welton, J., Reeder, B., & Ozkaynak, M. (2015). The Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research: Nurses shaping nursing’s future. Nursing Outlook, 63(2), 204-210.


CCNR Structure

 Nurse Scientist Research Group

The CCNR is driven by the NSRG, a forum/think tank where nurses convene to set nursing-focused agendas and produce collaborative work for funding and publication. The NSRG brings together nurse scientists, clinicians, researchers, leaders, informaticists, and IT professionals to generate nurse-sensitive patient-outcome metrics and design/perform nurse-centered research. NSRG members include representatives from the following:

  • Catholic Health Initiatives
  • Centura Health
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Denver Health and Hospital Authority
  • Kaiser Permanente Colorado
  • UCHealth System
  • Veterans Administration Eastern Colorado Health Care System​

 Analytics and Research Support Core

The CCNR Statistical Support Core provides statistical and data support as well as other research support services to facilitate nursing research projects, grant submissions, conference presentations, and publications. The Statistical Support Core offers the following:

  • Advanced statistical methods
  • Qualitative and quantitative expertise
  • EBP support
  • Quality improvement support
  • Literature reviews
  • Manuscript editing/writing
  • Graphic design​

 Common Unified Patient-Indicator Data (CUPID)

CUPID is a health information technology (health IT) system that uses informatics-enabled data partnerships, a federated data system instantiated by PopMedNet software, and user-driven analytics to drive targeted nursing innovations that optimize patient outcomes (Figure 1). AHRQ funding for CUPID (4U18HS022789-03) supported development of governance processes, a common data model, data mapping capabilities, and a successful pilot demonstration using one month of patient pain data from electronic health records (EHR) at six hospitals in two health care systems. Extending the application of CUPID leverages the capability of health IT to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care.

Graphic illustrating the PopMedNet information flow.
Figure 1. CUPID federated data architecture, operationalized by PopMedNet
  1. Investigator sends query to PopMedNet Query Portal
  2. Query sent to PopMedNet Client outside hospital firewall
  3. Approved query run against data warehouse behind hospital firewall
  4. Results sent to PopMedNet Client
  5. Approved results to central server for processing/aggregation; Query results written to database according to data use policy
  6. Results sent to Investigator via PopMedNet Query Portal​​