Toward a science of learning systems: a research agenda for the high-functioning Learning Health System


Charles Friedman , Joshua Rubin , Jeffrey Brown, et al



The capability to share data, and harness its potential to generate knowledge rapidly and inform decisions, can have transformative effects that improve health. The infrastructure to achieve this goal at scale marrying technology, process, and policy is commonly referred to as the Learning Health System (LHS). Achieving an LHS raises numerous scientific challenges.

Materials and methods 

The National Science Foundation convened an invitational workshop to identify the fundamental scientific and engineering research challenges to achieving a national-scale LHS. The workshop was planned by a 12-member committee and ultimately engaged 45 prominent researchers spanning multiple disciplines over 2 days in Washington, DC on 11-12 April 2013.


The workshop participants collectively identified 106 research questions organized around four system-level requirements that a high-functioning LHS must satisfy. The workshop participants also identified a new cross-disciplinary integrative science of cyber-social ecosystems that will be required to address these challenges.


The intellectual merit and potential broad impacts of the innovations that will be driven by investments in an LHS are of great potential significance. The specific research questions that emerged from the workshop, alongside the potential for diverse communities to assemble to address them through a new science of learning systems, create an important agenda for informatics and related disciplines.

Toward a science of learning systems: a research agenda for the high-functioning Learning Health System
Charles Friedman , Joshua Rubin , Jeffrey Brown , Melinda Buntin , Milton Corn , Lynn Etheredge , Carl Gunter , Mark Musen , Richard Platt , William Stead , Kevin Sullivan , Douglas Van Houweling
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association Oct 2014, DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002977

Website: http://jamia.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/07/amiajnl-2014-002977.long