JASON Offers Data Recommendations for a ‘Learning Health System’

December 3, 2014 in News

The health care industry must go beyond interoperability of electronic health records to achieve a nationwide “learning health system” to identify and share best practices, according to a new report by JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the federal government on issues pertaining to science and technology, Health Data Management reports (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 12/3).

Report Details

The report, titled, “Data for Individual Health,” was requested by HHS and builds upon a previous JASON report on data sharing infrastructure. The new report was completed in conjunction with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report recommended ways to achieve an interoperable data infrastructure that integrates information from sources beyond EHRs (DeSalvo et al., “Health IT Buzz,” 12/2).

HHS is seeking comments on the report from industry stakeholders (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 12/2).

According to the report, there currently is not “an [a]dequate feedback loop” between health outcomes and clinical research, nor is there a sufficient connection between population health management research and community engagement to support a learning health system within the health care industry.

The report found that a “closed loop” learning health system is needed to ensure an ongoing and transparent cycle of analysis, development, research and adoption of tools to improve health and wellness and health care delivery.

Further, the report noted that a proper learning health system must include multiple sources of personal health information. For example, a data sharing infrastructure must incorporate data, including environmental and demographic information, from:

  • Patient collaborative networks;
  • Personal health records;
  • Personal health devices; and
  • Social media (Health Data Management, 12/3).


Among its recommendations, the report suggested that HHS:

  • Accelerate the development of a “robust” health data infrastructure;
  • Adopt standards and incentives that facilitate the sharing of health data;
  • Create “race to the top” challenges to encourage community engagement (JASON report, November 2014); and
  • Establish public application programming interfaces to bridge existing systems with future software (Health Data Management, 12/3).
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