The Birth of an Interstate Learning Health System: Carolinas Collaborative
The Carolinas share a number of things in common, including excellent academic institutions and health systems, as well as a serious public health and disparities issues such as stroke, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Recognizing there is strength in collaboration, health leaders in South and North Carolina have formed an interstate health improvement and research collaborative called the Carolinas Collaborative.
The Carolinas Collaborative includes HSSC and its member organizations along with Duke University, the University of North Carolina (UNC), and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. The goal of the Carolina’s Collaborative is to create an interstate Learning Health System like HSSC has done in South Carolina with its culture of convening and sharing of research tools including the statewide Clinical Data Warehouse.
At the heart of the Carolinas Collaborative is a multi-state, federated data system that resembles the integrated HSSC Clinical Data Warehouse except the data will be housed at individual institutions rather than stored in a collective manner. During research queries, the data will be gathered by an information technology tool developed at Harvard University called Shared Health Research Information Network (SHRINE).
This Carolinas Learning Health System will leverage the strengths of individual organizations and also create a shared research infrastructure that is available to clinicians and researchers in both states. By spreading South Carolina’s successful Learning Health System model across the Carolinas, both states will become even more competitive for research funding. Increased research will lead to the discovery of new care methods and ultimately better health, improved quality and more efficient health systems.
The Carolinas Collaborative is engaged in a number of major foundation and federal proposals and research projects that target common health needs in both states, from understanding emerging health system models to connecting with national health data networks. The Carolinas Collaborative is committed to doing research together, making discoveries together, and finding the best way to put those discoveries into local practice.