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Technical Building blocks of a Learning Health System

Our earlier Learning Healthcare Project report [1] described the building blocks of a Learning Health System in detail. Here we will summarise that work, expanding on new developments.

Learning Health Systems have been described as learning cycles at scale [38]. Once a decision is made on what to study, organisational Learning relies on data being derived from practice (Practice to Data), knowledge being generated from the data (Data to Knowledge), and knowledge being transferred back into practice (Knowledge to Practice). This is illustrated by Figure B, which in turn forms the hub of the wheel in Figure A. Each of these stages is described below.

Figure B Adapted from Flynn et al.’s [38] view of the learning health cycle of the Learning Health System

Other models [39]  explicitly consider “information” and “wisdom”, as well as “data” and “knowledge”. This is often helpful in considering how specific Learning Health System cycles operate. However, for the purposes of this report, data and information are considered together, as are knowledge and wisdom.