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Delivery System Innovation: 
Learning Health Systems

Learning health systems are those "in which internal data and experience are systematically integrated with external evidence, and that knowledge is put into practice" in ways that ultimately lead to "patients [getting] higher quality, safer, more efficient care".

A learning health system (LHS) orientation to care delivery is defined by a number of traits, including a commitment to systematic approaches to gathering and applying evidence to guide care; and analysis of data to improve care.


To support delivery system innovation, the Collective adopts an LHS orientation that is organized around several beliefs.

First, many health care provider organizations already possess features that are consist with LHS, even if not defined that way. In other words, while all there are always improvement opportunities, we believe a LHS orientation is well-aligned with ongoing processes and strategies in many organizations.

Second, given its emphasis on integrating local data and experience with external evidence, an LHS orientation should embody collaboration between delivery system groups (e.g., clinical and administrative leaders and teams) and scholars. We believe several principles should serve as teh foundation for this type of collaboration.

This collaborative, learning-oriented approach -- using scientific principles, design and evaluation methods to inform delivery system initiatives -- can give rise to a range of different collaborations, including the following:

  • using design principles to test new strategies for improving post-hospital discharge transitions

  • applying statistical analysis to evaluate the impact of interventions aimed at optimizing the use and experience of post-acute care

  • adapting evidence-based methods to improve models of screening patients for issues such as cognitive impairment 

  • using communication and decision-science principles to design patient outreach materials

Does a LHS-oriented approach to delivery system innovation resonate with you or your team's work? 


Learn more about how we provide support or reach out to our team at hscollective[at]uw[dot]edu.  

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