February 14, 2020: Do Our Current Research Models Meet the Needs of a Learning Health Care System? (David Atkins, MD, MPH)


David Atkins, MD, MPH
Director, Health Services Research and Development
Office of Research and Development
Department of Veterans Affairs


Do Our Current Research Models Meet the Needs of a Learning Health Care System?


Learning health system; Research collaborations; Veterans Affairs

Key Points

  • A unique advantage of the VA is that it is an integrated, publicly funded healthcare system with social, educational, housing, and disability services and benefits. Yet the changing political environment and leadership turnover make it hard to align with operations.
  • In a learning healthcare system, learning happens continuously, in real time. Embedded researchers are needed because they bring a deeper knowledge of data, design, inference, and objectivity.
  • Solutions include new funding mechanisms, new models for research that involve health system partnerships, new incentives for better impact, and enhanced attention to implementation.

Discussion Themes

Deep health system partnerships cannot be mandated; they must be built from the ground up.

Are there ways to develop meaningful incentives for investigators to participate in collaboratory-like enterprises to compete with the current incentives to get their own work done?

Learn more about large-scale pragmatic clinical research at the Pain Management Collaboratory, a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

#pctGR, @Collaboratory1