Health systems in North America and Europe have been criticised for their lack of safety, efficiency and effectiveness despite rising healthcare costs. In response, healthcare leaders and researchers have articulated the need to transform current health systems into continuously and rapidly learning health systems (LHSs). While digital technology has been envisioned as providing the transformational power for LHSs by generating timely evidence and supporting best care practices, it remains to be ascertained if it is indeed playing this role in current LHS initiatives. This paper presents a protocol for a scoping review that aims at providing a comprehensive understanding of how and to what extent digital technology is used within LHSs. Results will help to identify gaps in the literature as a means to guide future research on this topic.
Multiple databases and grey literature will be searched with terms related to learning health systems. Records selection will be done in duplicate by two reviewers applying pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data extraction from selected records will be done by two reviewers using a piloted data charting form. Results will be synthesised through a descriptive numerical summary and a mapping of digital technology use onto types of LHSs and phases of learning within LHSs.
Ethical approval is not required for this scoping review. Preliminary results will be shared with stakeholders to account for their perspectives when drawing conclusions. Final results will be disseminated through presentations at relevant conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals.