Barriers and facilitators to learning health systems in primary care: a framework analysis

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Background

The learning health system (LHS) concept is a potential solution to the challenges currently faced by primary care. There are few descriptions of the barriers and facilitators to achieving an LHS in general practice, and even fewer that are underpinned by implementation science. This study aimed to describe the barriers and facilitators to achieving an LHS in primary care and provide practical recommendations for general practices on their journey towards an LHS.

Methods

This study is a secondary data analysis from a qualitative investigation of an LHS in a university-based general practice in Sydney, Australia. A framework analysis was conducted using transcripts from semistructured interviews with clinic staff. Data were coded according to the theoretical domains framework, and then to an LHS framework.

Results

91% (n=32) of practice staff were interviewed, comprising general practitioners (n=15), practice nurses (n=3), administrative staff (n=13) and a psychologist. Participants reported that the practice alignment with LHS principles was influenced by many behavioural determinants, some of which were applicable to healthcare in general, for example, some staff lacked knowledge about practice policies and skills in using software. However, many were specific to the general practice environment, for example, the environmental context of general practice meant that administrative staff were an integral part of the LHS, particularly in facilitating partnerships with patients.

Conclusions

The LHS journey in general practice is influenced by several factors. Mapping the LHS domains in relation to the theoretical domains framework can be used to generate a roadmap to hasten the journey towards LHS in primary care settings.

Fisher, G., Saba, M., Dammery, G., Ellis, L. A., Churruca, K., Mahadeva, J., Foo, D., Wilcock, S., Braithwaite, J.

Fisher, G., Saba, M., Dammery, G., Ellis, L. A., Churruca, K., Mahadeva, J., Foo, D., Wilcock, S., Braithwaite, J.

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