The PINNACLE Registry is the largest observational outpatient cardiovascular registry in the world. The registry continuously collects clinical data from patients with coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart failure or atrial fibrillation. As such, it offers an unparalleled resource for evaluation of critical questions pertaining to patients in the outpatient cardiovascular care setting, as well as assess clinicians’ adherence to performance measures. The PINNACLE Registry Research and Publications Subcommittee evaluate and select five research proposals a year. If you are interested in submitting a research proposal application using the PINNACLE Registry dataset, please follow the steps outlined below. For more information, visit NCDR Research and Publications.

Guide for Drafting a Research Proposal Application (RPA)

To ensure that your proposal has the best chance for acceptance, please follow the guidelines below before drafting your research proposal application.

  1. Check the NCDR Research Calendar for upcoming deadlines
  2. Ensure your research proposal idea has no overlap with in-progress or published work
      1. Review NCDR Manuscripts by Registry
      2. Review Current Unpublished Projects by Registry
  3. Ensure that PINNACLE collects the data elements you need for your proposal
      1. To make this determination, refer to the Coder’s Data Dictionary 
  4. Review PINNACLE Registry Data Completeness 
      1. The PINNACLE Registry database is comprised of relevant registry data fields extracted from electronic health records (EHRs). For more information regarding PINNACLE Registry data collection, click here
      2. Because of this, data completeness can vary depending on the data element, for a number of reasons:                        
        • Whether or not an element is routinely captured in an EHR
        • Clinicians’ patterns of documentation
        • Differences in the way an EHR is structured  
  5. Select the appropriate funding source on your application
      1. Funding goes towards the cost of data analytics, which includes the analysis for a manuscript and an abstract (optional).
      2. Analytics must be conducted at a NCDR-designated Data Analytic Center. Please note that the NCDR does not send datasets to individual investigators or organizations.
      3. How to choose your funding:
          1. For researchers whose projects are not supported by a grant or industry funding, select “NCDR funding” (most common funding source).
          2. If you have grant, institution industry, or analytic center funding, please send an email to before preparing a proposal.
          3. NCDR data analytic center funding is awarded by NCDR institutions (for use only by DCRI, MAHI, YNHH-CORE) and must be awarded by the institution prior to proposal submission.
          4. Understand the limitations of using PINNACLE Registry data for research
      4. Consider the following limitations when drafting your research proposal and statistical analysis plan: 
          1. The PINNACLE Registry is limited to cardiologists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in outpatient practices only, and we currently do not collect data in the primary care or inpatient settings.
          2. Registry data is observational, meaning that biases are present in the data.
          3. The Registry relies on the presence of data within participating practices’ EHRs.
  6. Determine if the rule of two applies to you 
      1. The NCDR 'Rule of Two' applies across all NCDR registries and states that a primary author may not have more than two active proposals at one time in the NCDR R&P pipeline. An active proposal is one that has been submitted to NCDR for R&P Committee review, but has not resulted in submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal.
  7. Once you have completed the above steps, submit your proposal using the NCDR Research Management System (login using an existing ACC ( account or create a free one). Review the brief slide set, “Introduction to the NCDR Research Management System” for an overview of the system and access instructions.