Public Health and the Learning Health System: A National Meeting

Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 12-13, 2013

The Network for Public Health Law – Mid-States Region and the University of Michigan School of Public Health hosted a two-day invitational meeting to examine the role of public health in a national-scale Learning Health System. Over 50 public health experts in health information and data sharing participated. The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that the public health perspective is integrated into the development of learning health systems and to identify potential opportunities and barriers for public health's participation as a data contributor, user and beneficiary.

Below are presentations and other materials from the meeting:


Public Health and the Learning Health System

The concept of a Learning Health System (LHS) is becoming widely recognized as a critical element of national infrastructure to transform health care and promote population health. It will allow the nation to take full advantage of the rapidly increasing amounts of health-related data available in digital form. A sophisticated LHS will enable data from across the country to be rapidly mobilized, continuously analyzed and converted into “actionable” knowledge – to improve health care quality, safety and efficiency; empower public health and biomedical research; and enable individuals and their families to make better-informed health decisions. The Institute of Medicine has been a powerful and clear advocate for the LHS. The 2011 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan advances health system learning as its highest-level goal.

State and local public health agencies will benefit profoundly from a national-scale LHS. Detection of disease outbreaks, epidemic tracking, studies of population health status, disease notification, evaluation of interventions and other essential public health activities will be transformed by the capabilities of an LHS. Public health agencies will also provide important information to clinicians, as well as receive it. The voice of public health needs to be heard as this national movement rolls forward.

For more information, contact the Network's Mid-States Region at 734-647-1316.