A Learning Health System Approach

Using feedback and data to enhance patient care in real time

Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has a long-standing culture of progressiveness – forward-thinking, creative, adaptable, and willing to dive into new areas – making it an ideal environment for fostering a learning health system, and the first hospital in Canadian to fulsomely adopt this approach.

In 2021, WCH introduced a bold new strategy for its newly integrated academics portfolio – advancing research, innovation and education. Under the leadership of Dr. Rulan Parekh, Vice President of Academics, teams are working across the organization to implement a learning health system.

While it typically takes about 17 years for research findings to be implemented into clinical practice, the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that healthcare can move quickly to execute new ways of care. A learning health system means using feedback and data to make improvements to patient care in real-time – not years from now. It’s an integration between research, clinical care, operations and the community where everyone is engaging in research and quality improvement with a shared mission of continual improvement and learning – fostering a sense of curiosity and engagement across all programs, centres and institutes with the aim of impacting positive change for the best possible patient care.

Here, Dr. Parekh walks us through the learning health system approach and how it’s being implemented across WCH.

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