An Analysis of the Learning Health System in Its First Decade in Practice: Scoping Review

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Mar 19;22(3):e17026. doi: 10.2196/17026.


Background: In the past decade, Lynn Etheredge presented a vision for the Learning Health System (LHS) as an opportunity for increasing the value of health care via rapid learning from data and immediate translation to practice and policy. An LHS is defined in the literature as a system that seeks to continuously generate and apply evidence, innovation, quality, and value in health care.

Objective: This review aimed to examine themes in the literature and rhetoric on the LHS in the past decade to understand efforts to realize the LHS in practice and to identify gaps and opportunities to continue to take the LHS forward.

Methods: We conducted a thematic analysis in 2018 to analyze progress and opportunities over time as compared with the initial Knowledge Gaps and Uncertainties proposed in 2007.

Results: We found that the literature on the LHS has increased over the past decade, with most articles focused on theory and implementation; articles have been increasingly concerned with policy.

Conclusions: There is a need for attention to understanding the ethical and social implications of the LHS and for exploring opportunities to ensure that these implications are salient in implementation, practice, and policy efforts.

Keywords: bioethics; health information exchange; knowledge management; learning health system; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Humans
  • Learning Health System / methods*