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October 24/31, 2012

What's Needed Is a Health Care System That LearnsRecommendations From an IOM Report

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: California HealthCare Foundation (Dr Smith) and Kaiser Permanente (Mr Halvorson), Oakland; and Virginia Mason Health System, Seattle, Washington (Dr Kaplan).

JAMA. 2012;308(16):1637-1638. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13664

The US health care system is characterized by information overload. There is more to do, more to know, and more to manage than at any time in history. Yet in one of many paradoxes, available knowledge is too rarely applied to improve care, while information generated by the care experience is too rarely synthesized to improve available knowledge.

Health care lags other industries like banking, retail, and transportation in its ability to meet the needs of patients, to offer choice, to adapt, and to become safer and more affordable. What's needed is a care system that consistently delivers reliable performance and constantly improves, systematically and seamlessly, with each care experience—in short, a system with an ability to learn. The good news is that opportunities exist to build one.

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