What is a Rapid Learning Health System?

The RLH – From Concept to Action

[By Staff Reporters]

According to Greene, Reid and Larson, clinicians and health systems are facing widespread challenges, including changes in care delivery, escalating health care costs, and the need to keep up with rapid scientific discovery.

Re-organizing U.S. health care and changing its practices to render better, more affordable care requires transformation in how health systems generate and apply knowledge. The “rapid-learning health system” is posited as a conceptual strategy to spur such transformation – leverages and recent developments in health information technology and a growing health data infrastructure to access and apply evidence in real time, while simultaneously drawing knowledge from real-world care-delivery processes to promote innovation and health system change on the basis of rigorous research.



[A Rapid Learning Health System]


The Essay

This article describes an evolving learning health system at Group Health Cooperative, the 6 phases characterizing its approach, and examples of organization-wide applications.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22868839

It is a practical model that promotes bidirectional discovery and an open mind at the system level, resulting in willingness to make changes on the basis of evidence that is both scientifically sound and practice-based.


Rapid learning must be valued as a health system property to realize its full potential for knowledge generation and application.


Implementing the learning health system: from concept to action. Greene SM1, Reid RJ, Larson EB. Author information: Group Health Cooperative, 320 Westlake Avenue North, GHQ E2N, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. greene.sm@ghc.org

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More: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hast.134/abstract

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3 Responses

  1. Intriguing ME-P

    “To control costs, you want to promote prevention and use of the most cost-effective treatments and strategies. Why don’t we use cost-effective treatments and strategies? We don’t have any way of producing evidence-based quality care that can diffuse rapidly through the health care system.”

    Nancy Barrand
    [Senior Program Adviser-RWJF]

    Here is more info:

    As a teacher, and nurse educator, this is an exciting concept.



  2. Data for Health Edition!

    Playing “What If”:

    An interesting article by MICHAEL PAINTER MD.



  3. What are rapid learning health care systems?

    A rapid learning healthcare system (RLHS) is a system that merges clinical research and clinical care. It is designed to collect data during routine patient care and then utilize the data to rapidly generate evidence to improve patient care, provide information to patients and families, and track quality measures.



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