Exploring the Potential of Learning Health Systems

FEBRUARY 26 | 0830 – 1630


Together with the BC Academic Health Science Network, the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council invited attendees to dive deep into the opportunity of learning health systems.

How can we promote continuous improvement and innovation within our health system? How can we also ensure that our system is equipped to evolve with every patient that is treated? Are we capitalizing on the knowledge generated through our interactions to achieve change? This full-day, interactive session helped to answer these questions by introducing attendees to the potential of learning health systems and start the conversation around how we can achieve a continuously learning health system in British Columbia.

Attendees could join us as we gained insights from international experts and explored how learnings from other countries can be applied in our context. We considered the critical role of patients, focused on advancing the Indigenous lens and discussed the organizational and team culture requirements necessary to foster these types of health systems. This was a unique opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders and share ideas for how to move forward in pursuing this transformation at all scales.

By the end of the day, participants could:

  1. Define the broad concept of a “learning health system”;
  2. List the key success factors necessary to achieve a comprehensive learning health system; and
  3. Describe the key enabling factors in BC that can be leveraged to help achieve a learning health system and where further capability may need to be built.




Global Perspectives


Charles Friedman

Professor & Chair, Department of Learning Health Sciences | University of Michigan Medical School

Charles Friedman is the Josiah Macy Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Learning Health Sciences at the University of Michigan Medical School. In recent years, he has focused his academic interests and activities on the concept of Learning Health Systems and the socio-technical infrastructure required to achieve them. Dr. Friedman’s department is a “first in the nation” medical school academic department dedicated to the sciences of learning at all levels of scale; from learning by individuals, to learning by teams and organizations and learning by ultra-large-scale systems, such as entire nations. It is home to an interdisciplinary faculty, a new graduate program in Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems and a new journal, Learning Health Systems, for which he serves as editor-in-chief.

Prior to coming to Michigan, Dr. Friedman held executive positions at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: from 2007 to 2009 as Deputy National Coordinator and from 2009 to 2011 as ONC’s Chief Scientific Officer. Immediately prior to his work in the government, Dr. Friedman was Associate Vice Chancellor for Biomedical Informatics and Founding Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sir Chris Ham

Past Chief Executive | The King’s Fund
Emeritus Professor, Health Policy & Management | University of Birmingham

Chris was Chief Executive of The King’s Fund from April 2010 to December 2018 and has held posts at the universities of Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham, where he is currently emeritus professor. Chris is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of General Practitioners. He was director of the strategy unit in the Department of Health between 2000 and 2004, has advised the World Health Organization and the World Bank and has acted as a consultant to a number of governments. He has been a non-executive director of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a governor of the Health Foundation and the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.

Chris researches and writes on all aspects of health reform and is a sought-after speaker. He was awarded a CBE in 2004 for his services to the NHS and an honorary doctorate by the University of Kent in 2012. In 2018, Chris received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to health policy and management.

Jeanne M. Huddleston

CEO, President & Co-Founder | HB Healthcare Safety
Medical Director, Health Care Systems Engineering Program | Mayo Clinic

Jeanne M. Huddleston is an Associate Professor of Medicine, a past President of the Society of Hospital Medicine and the founder of Hospital Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She is also the founding Medical Director of Mayo Clinic’s Health Care Systems Engineering Program. She developed and led the Mayo Clinic 100% Mortality Review System for nearly 12 years. Dr. Huddleston is an active, practicing clinician and travels internationally to teach others the art and science of identifying and measuring the process of care and system failures that cause harm and contribute to mortality.

Dr. Huddleston’s professional focus is the translation of industrial and systems engineering principles to health care delivery. To spread these concepts as far and wide as possible, she co-founded an international safety learning system research collaborative. This group of more than 100 hospitals in the United States, Canada and Australia are utilizing a common learning heuristic and taxonomy to understand what gets in the way of providers doing their best job every day. Her driving mission is to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of the experience for patients, their families and all providers to end suffering caused by health care delivery.


The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians.  This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and has been approved by UBC CPD for up to 6.0 MOC Section 1 Group Learning credits. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 6.0 Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits he/she actually spent in the activity.

CFPC Session ID#: 189370-001