AHIMA Endorses Learning Health System's Core Values

CHICAGO – June 16, 2014 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announces its endorsement of the core values of a learning health system (LHS) that supports an effort to share secure, high-quality data to improve patient health.

The LHS concept represents a transformative vision of data, information, and knowledge sharing to empower all stakeholders to routinely engage in virtuous cycles of continuous learning and improvement.

It envisions a system in which physicians and clinicians, care delivery systems, public health programs and clinical research facilities routinely and securely aggregate data from disparate sources, convert the data into information and share this intelligence in timely and actionable formats to help patients, caregivers and others make informed health decisions.

Citing several Institute of Medicine reports on inefficiencies in healthcare and the possibility for medical errors, developers of the LHS concept designed it as a way to meet these challenges and improve the healthcare system.     

"AHIMA recognizes that needs are evolving from simply translating health data to providing instant access to health intelligence that not only drives clinical and administrative decision-making in real time, but arms physicians and their patients with trustworthy information they need to make health decisions," said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. "The core values of a learning health system, including access to secure, accurate health information are in line with AHIMA's long-standing commitment to quality healthcare through quality information."

As part of its endorsement, AHIMA joins the Learning Health Community, a coalition of healthcare leaders committed to advancing the LHS values.

"We are very excited to have AHIMA participate in the collaborative efforts of the ever-growing multi-stakeholder Learning Health Community aimed at realizing the LHS vision," said Charles P. Friedman, Ph.D., director, health informatics program, Schools of Information and Public Health, University of Michigan and a member of the Learning Health Community's interim steering committee.

"A LHS is urgently needed," said Joshua C. Rubin, JD, MBA, MPH, MPP, interim steering committee member of the Learning Health Community. "The Learning Health Community approach to realizing this vision is a critical grass-roots movement, and all of this is relevant to the HIM professional and all healthcare stakeholders."

A recent Journal of AHIMA article profiled the LHS and why it is urgently needed.

During AHIMA's 2014 Convention and Exhibit, members of the Learning Health Community will share with attendees how providing timely, secure and accurate information through the LHS can improve health outcomes.

In its endorsement, AHIMA joins a grassroots effort of 60 healthcare organizations and companies committed to advancing the core values of a LHS. The LHS seeks to build on initiatives already taking place such as the meaningful use of electronic health records. The core values of the LHS were developed at the Learning Health System Summit, convened by the Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation in May 2012.

The design and operation of a national-scale LHS is derived from the following 10 core values:

1. Person-Focused: The LHS will protect and improve the health of individuals byinforming choices about health and healthcare.

2. Privacy: The LHS will protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of all data to enable responsible sharing of data, information, and knowledge, as well as to build trust among all stakeholders.

3. Inclusiveness: Every individual and organization committed to improving the health of individuals, communities, and diverse populations, who abides by the governance of the LHS, is invited and encouraged to participate.

4. Transparency: With a commitment to integrity, all aspects of LHS operations will be open and transparent to safeguard and deepen the trust of all stakeholders in the system, as well as to foster accountability.

5. Accessibility: All should benefit from the public good derived from the LHS. Therefore, the LHS should be available and should deliver value to all, while encouraging and incentivizing broad and sustained participation.

6. Adaptability: The LHS will be designed to enable iterative, rapid adaptation and incremental evolution to meet current and future needs of stakeholders.

7. Governance: The LHS will have the governance which is necessary to support its sustainable operation, to set required standards, to build and maintain trust on the part of all stakeholders, and to stimulate ongoing innovation.

8. Cooperative and Participatory Leadership: The leadership of the LHS will be a multi-stakeholder collaboration across the public and private sectors including patients, consumers, caregivers, and families, in addition to other stakeholders. Diverse communities and populations will be represented. Bold leadership and strong user participation are essential keys to unlocking the potential of the LHS.

9. Scientific Integrity: The LHS and its participants will share a commitment to the most rigorous application of science to ensure the validity and credibility of findings, and the open sharing and integration of new knowledge in a timely and responsible manner.

10. Value: The LHS will support learning activities that can serve to optimize both the quality and affordability of healthcare. The LHS will be efficient and seek to minimize financial, logistical, and other burdens associated with participation.

For more information on LHS core values and activities during the upcoming AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in September, visit the Journal of AHIMA website.

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About AHIMA

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 71,000 educated health information management professionals and health informatics in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA's enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org

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