The System Awakens: Building Learning Healthcare Systems in Canada. Centre for Health Services and Policy Research 30th Anniversary Health Policy Conference

Research co-leads:

  • Kimberlyn McGrail
    University of British Columbia 
  • Stirling Bryan
    Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute

Research user co-lead:

  • Marc Pelletier
    Institute for Health System Transformation & Sustainability

Team member:

  • Shiraz El-Adam
    University of British Columbia 

For three decades, CHSPR’s annual conference has provided a platform for thought-provoking dialogues on emerging research in the health services and policy domain. In 2018, the conference will address the question of how BC can become a learning health system. In a learning health system, every patient interaction is treated as a learning activity, and the ethos of the system overall is improvement. Speakers will share the latest thinking on learning health systems and facilitate conversations on how BC can adopt the principles and actions that define such systems.

The conference will be held March 8-9, 2018 at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront, and will be structured around keynote and plenary panel presentations, with ample opportunity for facilitated discussion. Delegates will also present their work and experiences around learning health systems in short oral presentation and poster sessions, and engagement with all speakers and presenters will be encouraged. Web and video based technology will facilitate sharing of new knowledge during and after the conference.

The conference’s key objective is to bring together researchers, policy-makers, decision-makers, clinicians, students, patient partners, and interested public involved in creating, implementing, and being part of a learning health system. Confirmed speakers include Charles Friedman of the University of Michigan, an international leader in learning health systems and our opening keynote; Lucy Savitz of Kaiser Permanente as our closing keynote; and Jean-François Ethier (Université de Sherbrooke), David Ford (College of Medicine in Swansea University, Wales), and Walter Wodchis (University of Toronto) as a panel showcasing learning health system exemplars from outside of BC from which we can learn.

The program will also feature panels taking inventory of nascent learning health systems (and precursors) in BC, and anticipating issues in transforming to learning health systems, such as ethical concerns, policy barriers, informatics challenges, and leadership gaps. Post-conference, meetings of collaborative groups seeded with conference speakers will be organized, intended to help create concrete action plans for moving learning health system ideas into practice in BC. Many conference delegates will probably bring ideas back to their organizations and act as learning health system “champions” to facilitate transformation in BC.