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January 9, 2018

Funding Innovation in a Learning Health Care System

Author Affiliations
  • 1Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Armstrong Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Perelman School of Medicine, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2018;319(2):119-120. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.18205

Throughout the United States, health systems are attempting to change decades of operational systems designed to deliver health care as a reimbursable service into systems that deliver health as a population goal.1 Alongside those transformative activities are quality improvement efforts, such as those that aim to reduce hospital-acquired infections, readmissions for heart failure, scheduling delays to see a physician, or long waiting times after arriving for an appointment. Toward both transformation and incremental improvement are calls for the learning health system, ie, clinicians who see every patient encounter as a way to make the next one better.2 Although the federal government is a major investor in health-related research and could accelerate the development of learning health systems, the current efforts toward that goal may need a redesign of their own.

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