Engineering a Learning Healthcare System: A Look at the Future - Workshop Summary


Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

Lessons from engineering have the potential to improve both the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery.  The fundamental notion of a high-performing healthcare system—one that increasingly is more effective, more efficient, safer, and higher quality—is rooted in continuous improvement principles that medicine shares with engineering. As technological advances and new insights into disease and individual variation increase the complexity of medicine, progress will depend on the ability to design healthcare delivery systems in which all of the components are coordinated, streamlined, efficient, and seamlessly interfaced.

As part of its Learning Health System series of workshops, the IOM’s Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care hosted a workshop, jointly with the National Academy of Engineering, on lessons from systems and operations engineering that could be applied to the organization, structure, and function of health care delivery, monitoring, and change processes. Participant discussions on the promise of, and actions necessary to implement, engineering approaches to healthcare systems improvement are summarized in this report.