Embedding Learning in a Learning Health Care System to Improve Clinical Practice

Sep 01, 2021 | McEvoy

PROBLEM: In an ideal learning health care system (LHS), clinicians learn from what they do and do what they learn, closing the evidence-to-practice gap. In operationalizing an LHS, great strides have been made in knowledge generation. Yet, considerable challenges remain to the broad uptake of identified best practices. To bridge the gap from generating actionable knowledge to applying that knowledge in clinical practice, and ultimately to improving outcomes, new information must be disseminated to and implemented by frontline clinicians. To date, the dissemination of this knowledge through traditional avenues has not achieved meaningful practice change quickly.

APPROACH: Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) developed QuizTime, a smartphone application learning platform, to provide a mechanism for embedding workplace-based clinician learning in the LHS. QuizTime leverages spaced education and retrieval-based practice to facilitate practice change. Beginning in January 2020, clinician-researchers and educators at VUMC designed a randomized, controlled trial to test whether the QuizTime learning system influenced clinician behavior in the context of recent evidence supporting the use of balanced crystalloids rather than saline for intravenous fluid management and new regulations around opioid prescribing.

OUTCOMES: Whether spaced education and retrieval-based practice influence clinician behavior and patient outcomes at the VUMC system level will be tested using the data currently being collected.

NEXT STEPS: These findings will inform future directions for developing and deploying learning approaches at scale in an LHS, with the goal of closing the evidence-to-practice gap.

PubMed Abstract

McEvoy, M. D., Dear, M. L., Buie, R., Fowler, L. C., Miller, B., Fleming, G. M., . . . Lindsell, C. J. (2021). Embedding Learning in a Learning Health Care System to Improve Clinical Practice. Acad Med, 96(9), 1311-1314. doi:10.1097/acm.0000000000003969