National Academy of Medicine

A Continuously Learning Health Care System in the United States

By Karen A. Daley
July 12, 2013 | Commentary

The national health care system is beginning to embrace the idea of a continuously learning health care system, as proposed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the report Best Care at Lower Cost.  The necessity of such a system arose from the IOM’s Quality Chasm series, which proposed the spread of learning organizations as a method to improve the efficiency, speed, and effectiveness of information sharing and innovation among clinicians, payers, vendors, and, particularly, patients and consumers.

To move from the idea of a continuously learning health care system to its implementation, the IOM engaged an expert committee, the Comittee on the Learning Healthcare System in America, to investigate the possibilities and limitations that might exist in the capture and employment of patient-focused knowledge collected from clinicians, researchers, and educators. Mary Naylor of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing provided the perspective of nurses, the largest group of clinicians involved in patient care, on this committee. Her work helped the committee develop approaches to the problems of a complex health care system that are timely, relevant to nurses, and important for patients.




Suggested Citation

Daley, K. A. 2013. A Continuously Learning Health Care System in the United States. NAM Perspectives. Commentary, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. doi: 10.31478/201307b


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.