About Us


CERTAIN developed in response to the growing need for a learning healthcare system that is able to monitor the risks, benefits, and value of new healthcare treatments and technology to determine whether or not these developments improve quality of care and the health of patients. Learning healthcare systems are vital in this time of advancing healthcare technology and increasing available options available to healthcare stakeholders.

CERTAIN was built on the clinician and hospital relationships that created the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP), a performance data-sharing, benchmarking, and quality improvement (QI) platform for surgical and interventional procedures in Washington State. Although SCOAP has had remarkable success, CERTAIN developed out of a need to move beyond QI and perform real-world assessments of risks and benefits. QI alone, while important and worthwhile, cannot accomplish these assessments: QI registries can't capture long-term care and outcomes, don't cross care delivery sites (inpatient vs. outpatient), don't include patient perspectives, are extremely labor intensive, and are limited in dissemination and generalizability. 

CERTAIN received an initial $11.7 million grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) in 2010 to develop infrastructure and pilot projects in leveraging electronic data, linking different institutions in a network, and conducting community-based research and translation in peripheral arterial disease. In 2011, the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) awarded CERTAIN a $2.3 million grant to further develop the program by developing infrastructure around broader stakeholder engagement, more clinical disciplines (orthopedic spine, cancer, urologic) and supporting translation into healthcare system change. In 2013, AHRQ awarded CERTAIN an additional $735,830 grant to build a platform for collecting patient-reported outcomes and engage with healthcare stakeholders to conduct research prioritization activities.

Today, the CERTAIN network is supported by multiple research, informatics, and stakeholder engagement projects from a number of funding agencies.