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About Us ISRN

About Us


The ISRN fills a national gap in improvement science, creating a central structure upon which to build a sustainable, comprehensive network for testing which improvement approaches work in acute care settings.

Creation of the ISRN

The need for a large-scale and multi-site Improvement Science Research Network has long been evident to healthcare practitioners. While a solution in the form of a national research network seemed logical and desirable, the resources required to develop human capacity and collaborative technology infrastructure were largely unavailable.

The unprecedented availability of sizable funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) presented the unique opportunity to form such a network. On May 29, 2009, a plan was submitted to, accepted, and subsequently funded by the National Institute of Nursing and the National Institutes of Health, and the Improvement Science Research Network was created.

ISRN aims and key strategies are described in the abstract of the proposal.

Who We Are

The Improvement Science Research Network is a network of national and international healthcare professionals and organizations, the network Coordinating Center and a Steering Council. A unique technology infrastructure connects the Network and supports the conduct and dissemination of improvement research studies.

  • Network members collaborate to advance improvement science through the development of theories, methods, and research designs, and the conduct of improvement studies. The Network establishes standards for scientific rigor and capacity building thereby assuring relevant and robust scientific evidence to improve the delivery of healthcare.
  • The ISRN is guided by a Steering Council comprised of visionary healthcare experts across disciplines, representing both private and public organizations. The aggregate expertise of the group reflects advanced research knowledge in healthcare improvement and patient safety research.
  • Based in the Center for Advancing Clinical Excellence at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), the Coordinating Center is the nerve center of activity for all activities of the ISRN. The ISRN is linked to The UTHSCSA Clinical and Translational Science Award housed in the Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS). The ISRN is founded on a longstanding commitment to clinical and translational research and leverages IIMS resources to strengthen improvement science and translational science.

What We Do

The ISRN actively drives advancements in improvement science by:

  • Creating an infrastructure for multidisciplinary acute care providers to collaborate on improvement science projects through ISRN membership
  • Directing national improvement science research priorities
  • Supporting Network members in developing theories, methods, and designs for achieving rigorous improvement science research
  • Offering central data management and expert analysis for improvement science research studies

The Coordinating Center provides a dynamic technology and personnel rich infrastructure that allows members and other researchers to conduct collaborative research, exchange information, and network with others through the ISRN Web site. Through the multiple resources available within the Coordinating Center and on the ISRN website, professionals can expand their capacity with regard to research methods and tools, access a comprehensive database of improvement science projects, share resources, and submit comparative data online for analysis.

The ISRN creates an environment in which members come together to conduct rigorous studies and receive guidance from topic experts in improvement research. By linking healthcare professionals and providing a pioneering, novel infrastructure, the ISRN accelerates the testing and translation of clinical and healthcare delivery research into broad practice. Improvement research conducted through the ISRN will determine effective improvement strategies for acute care settings and improve patient outcomes.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer:
The project described was supported by Award Number RC2NR011946 from the National Institute of Nursing Research. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Nursing Research or the National Institutes of Health.

photo of Kathleen Stevens

In healthcare, we must not only do our work, but also improve our work. This requires the evidence base we will build through the Improvement Science Research Network.

Dr. Kathleen R. Stevens, ISRN Director