Building a Learning Health Ecosystem and Expanding Impact

Having developed a powerful health research collaboration across five University of California medical campuses, the leaders of UC BRAID have a new strategic focus: the integration of research and clinical care to create a learning health ecosystem where patient information and data are continuously analyzed to provide individualized care.

At their annual meeting in October, UC BRAID leaders encouraged participants to identify structures needed to foster the transformation of health care in California. Imagine unleashing the power of patient data—15+ million electronic health records with genetic information and social determinants—and creating a system that supports the ability to move fluidly across research and clinical care delivery.

UC BRAID stands for University of California Biomedical Research Acceleration Integration & Development. UC Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco formed the consortium in 2010 to develop a shared infrastructure that accelerates research and improves health. Some of BRAID’s accomplishments were described in a recent article, including forming a new partnership with Stanford University who participated in the retreat.

In describing UC Health’s new paradigm of using data to drive innovation, executive vice president Dr. John D. Stobo, reminded the audience that, “This work began when UC BRAID brought the health systems’ clinical data together, for research and improving health outcomes.”

UC BRAID retreat participants engage with a panel of health care leaders focused on enabling a learning health system environment.
UC BRAID retreat participants engage with a panel of health care leaders focused on enabling a learning health system environment.

Guest speaker Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Translation for OptumLabs, provided insights from his previous role at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation overseeing large pilot programs aimed at improving health care quality for the nation. A panel of academic medical center leaders and pioneers then brought the discussion local with an emphasis on finding ways to accelerate the use of these data and learn from each other.

“Our researchers’ priorities are likely already closely aligned with the health systems’ priorities. We want to create ways to identify their innovative ideas and enable them to test and share what they have learned at their local settings,” explained Rachael Sak, UC BRAID Executive Director.

The second day of the retreat focused on areas of innovation and efficiency, with the goal of becoming an attractive research partner for sponsors, collaborators, and clinical trial participants. With the morning’s plenary session as a backdrop, facilitated groups then examined tangible, attainable goals at the intersections of participant recruitment, IRB, contracting, and informatics. The groups reported back with prioritized targets to pursue in the coming year. Participants also received updates and exciting insights into progress on the UC Clinical Data Warehouse.

Dr. Steven M. Dubinett, chair of UC BRAID, summed up the retreat stating, BRAID is a trusted entity for promoting systemwide efficiencies and innovation to improve health. We want to create an organized structure where our priorities are aligned with the health systems and best practices are shared across our ecosystem.”

Click here to view the retreat overview and presentations.

UC BRAID Executive Committee members (from left): Dan M. Cooper (UCI), Theodor Wun (UCD), Lisa Jackson (Stanford), Lars Berglund (UCD), Rachael Sak (BRAID Director), Gary S. Firestein (UCSD), Harry B. Greenberg (Stanford), Jennifer Grandis (UCSF), Steven M. Dubinett (UCLA, BRAID Chair), Mark R. Cullen (Stanford).