Dates of Project: August 2005 through December 2013
“To control costs, you want to promote prevention and use of the most cost-effective treatments and strategies. Why don’t we use cost-effective treatments and strategies? We don’t have any way of producing evidence-based quality care that can diffuse rapidly through the health care system.”—Nancy Barrand, Senior Program Adviser, RWJF
Description: Lynn Etheredge and Judith Moore at George Washington University, working with many collaborators, developed, promoted, and spread the concept of a rapid-learning health system, which involves analyzing information from large databases of electronic patient data (with personal identifying information removed) to continuously improve the quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness of medical technologies, medications, procedures, and health policies.
“The objective of a rapid-learning health care system is simply to learn as fast as possible about what is the best treatment for each patient—and deliver it.”—Lynn Etheredge
Through journal articles, white papers, reports, and blogs; planning meetings, conferences, and workshops and presenting at them; and collaborations with federal health policy staff and medical and health care experts, Etheredge and his network generated interest and large national investments both in a rapid-learning health system in general, with a new clinical research system of more than 100 million patients, and in rapid-learning projects in cancer, pediatrics, and Alzheimer’s disease.