Learning health systems using data to drive healthcare improvement and impact: a systematic review

Joanne Enticott, Alison Johnson, Helena Teede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The transition to electronic health records offers the potential for big data to drive the next frontier in healthcare improvement. Yet there are multiple barriers to harnessing the power of data. The Learning Health System (LHS) has emerged as a model to overcome these barriers, yet there remains limited evidence of impact on delivery or outcomes of healthcare. Objective: To gather evidence on the effects of LHS data hubs or aligned models that use data to deliver healthcare improvement and impact. Any reported impact on the process, delivery or outcomes of healthcare was captured. Methods: Systematic review from CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Medline in-process and Web of Science PubMed databases, using learning health system, data hub, data-driven, ehealth, informatics, collaborations, partnerships, and translation terms. English-language, peer-reviewed literature published between January 2014 and Sept 2019 was captured, supplemented by a grey literature search. Eligibility criteria included studies of LHS data hubs that reported research translation leading to health impact. Results: Overall, 1076 titles were identified, with 43 eligible studies, across 23 LHS environments. Most LHS environments were in the United States (n = 18) with others in Canada, UK, Sweden and Australia/NZ. Five (21.7%) produced medium-high level of evidence, which were peer-reviewed publications. Conclusions: LHS environments are producing impact across multiple continents and settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Digital health
  • Health data hubs
  • Health services research
  • Learning health systems

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