Supporting Learning Health Systems

Dr Tom Foley has produced  the report: The Role of Health Education England Knowledge and Library Services in Supporting Learning Health Systems.  This  maps the work of NHS Knowledge and Library Services teams nationally and locally onto the Learning Health System Framework.  It is based on interviews, workshops and a review of internal and publicly available documents.

In conclusion the report summarises the role of NHS knowledge and library services.

  • Health Education England is best known for training the NHS workforce, but through its leadership and development of knowledge and library services, it also helps to ensure that the workforce always has the knowledge that it needs to make decisions. 
  • A Learning Health System captures data from practice, generates knowledge from the data and puts the knowledge back into practice, to improve care. This requires capabilities in digital (data and technology), knowledge management and quality improvement. This report has outlined how knowledge and library services are the heart of knowledge management within the NHS and how that position can be leveraged to support local, regional and national Learning Health Systems. 
  • In supporting Learning Health Systems, knowledge and library services can help organisations to achieve better outcomes for patients, improve value, reduce variation, improve knowledge generation, more effectively apply existing knowledge and boost clinical performance. This can be achieved though the provision of a mix of local and national infrastructure and services, capacity building, influencing, regional consultancy and international advisory. A knowledge and library service can achieve its own continuous improvement by becoming a learning system in its own right. 
  • A knowledge and library service can achieve this by addressing its strategic alignment, organisational structures, workforce, culture, approach to behaviour change and by co-designing its services and employing continuous evaluation. 
  • Applying the Learning Health System framework to the work of knowledge and library services, showed how the framework could be used to understand services that support or enable Learning Health Systems as well as whole Learning Health Systems. These insights resulted in some amendments to the framework, which have recently been published1.”

We will be sharing recommendations arising from the report in due course.

Download the full report here

  1. Foley, T, Vale, L. A framework for understanding, designing, developing and evaluating learning health systems. Learn Health Sys. 2022;e10315. doi:10.1002/lrh2.10315