IN A LEARNING HEALTH SYSTEM
Claudia Grossmann and Joe Alper, Rapporteurs
A Learning Health System Activity
Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The workshop that is the subject of this workshop summary was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
This activity was supported by an unnumbered agreement between the National Academy of Sciences and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The views presented in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the activity.
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Copyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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Suggested citation: IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2013. Observational studies in a learning health system: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
PLANNING COMMITTEE ON OBSERVATIONAL
STUDIES IN A LEARNING HEALTH SYSTEM1
RALPH I. HORWITZ (Co-Chair), Senior Vice President, Clinical Sciences Evaluation, GlaxoSmithKline
JOE V. SELBY (Co-Chair), Executive Director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
ANIRBAN BASU, Associate Professor and Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Methodology, University of Washington
TROYEN A. BRENNAN, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS/Caremark
STEVEN N. GOODMAN, Associate Dean for Clinical & Translational Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford University
LOUIS B. JACQUES, Director, Coverage and Analysis Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
JEROME P. KASSIRER, Distinguished Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
MICHAEL S. LAUER, Director, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
DAVID MADIGAN, Chair of Statistics, Columbia University
SHARON-LISE T. NORMAND, Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Health Care Policy, Harvard University
RICHARD PLATT, Chair of Ambulatory Care and Prevention and Chair of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
BURTON H. SINGER, Professor, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida
JEAN R. SLUTSKY, Director, Center for Outcomes and Evidence, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
ROBERT TEMPLE, Deputy Director for Clinical Science, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
KATHERINE BURNS, Program Assistant
CLAUDIA GROSSMANN, Senior Program Officer
DIEDTRA HENDERSON, Program Officer
ELIZABETH JOHNSTON, Program Assistant
ELIZABETH ROBINSON, Research Associate
VALERIE ROHRBACH, Senior Program Assistant
1 Institute of Medicine planning committees are solely responsible for organizing the workshop, identifying topics, and choosing speakers. The responsibility for the published workshop summary rests with the workshop rapporteurs and the institution.
JULIA SANDERS, Senior Program Assistant (through August 2013)
ROBERT SAUNDERS, Senior Program Officer
BARRET ZIMMERMANN, Program Assistant (through October 2013)
J. MICHAEL MCGINNIS, Senior Scholar, Executive Director, Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care
JOE ALPER, Consulting Writer
ROUNDTABLE ON VALUE & SCIENCE-DRIVEN HEALTH CARE1
MARK B. MCCLELLAN (Chair), Senior Fellow and Director, Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative, The Brookings Institution
RAYMOND BAXTER, Senior Vice President, Community, Benefit, Research and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente
DAVID BLUMENTHAL, President, The Commonwealth Fund
BRUCE G. BODAKEN, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Shield of California
PAUL CHEW, Chief Science Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Sanofi U.S.
FRANCIS COLLINS, Director, National Institutes of Health (Ex Officio) (designee: Kathy Hudson)
HELEN DARLING, President, National Business Group on Health
SUSAN DEVORE, Chief Executive Officer, Premier, Inc.
JUDITH FAULKNER, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Epic Health Systems
THOMAS R. FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Ex Officio) (designee: James Galloway)
PATRICIA A. GABOW, Former Chief Executive Officer, Denver Health
ATUL GAWANDE, General and Endocrine Surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
GARY L. GOTTLIEB, President and Chief Executive Officer, Partners HealthCare System
JAMES A. GUEST, President and Chief Executive Officer, Consumers Union
GEORGE C. HALVORSON, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Permanente
MARGARET A. HAMBURG, Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Ex Officio) (designee: Peter Lurie)
JAMES HEYWOOD, Cofounder and Chairman, PatientsLikeMe
RALPH I. HORWITZ, Senior Vice President, Clinical Evaluation Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline
PAUL HUDSON, Executive Vice President, AstraZeneca
BRENT C. JAMES, Chief Quality Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
CRAIG JONES, Director, Vermont Blueprint for Health
GARY KAPLAN, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Mason Health System
DARRELL G. KIRCH, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges
1 Institute of Medicine forums and roundtables do not issue, review, or approve individual documents. The responsibility for the published workshop summary rests with the workshop rapporteurs and the institution.
RICHARD KRONICK, Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Ex Officio)
RICHARD C. LARSON, Mitsui Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JAMES L. MADARA, Chief Executive Officer, American Medical Association
FARZAD MOSTASHARI, National Coordinator, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (Ex Officio)
MARY D. NAYLOR, Director, NewCourtland Center, University of Pennsylvania
WILLIAM D. NOVELLI, Former Chief Executive Officer, AARP; Professor, Georgetown University
SAM R. NUSSBAUM, Chief Medical Officer, WellPoint, Inc.
JONATHAN B. PERLIN, President, Clinical and Physician Services and Chief Medical Officer, HCA, Inc.
ROBERT A. PETZEL, Under Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Ex Officio)
RICHARD PLATT, Chair, Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School
MICHAEL ROSENBLATT, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Merck and Co.
JOHN W. ROWE, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Aetna; Professor, Columbia University
JOE V. SELBY, Executive Director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
MARK D. SMITH, President and Chief Executive Officer, California HealthCare Foundation
GLENN D. STEELE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Geisinger Health System
MARILYN TAVENNER, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Ex Officio) (designee: Patrick Conway)
REED V. TUCKSON, Former Executive Vice President, UnitedHealth Group; Managing Director, Tuckson Health
MARY WAKEFIELD, Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration (Ex Officio)
DEBRA B. WHITMAN, Executive Vice President, Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs, AARP
JONATHAN WOODSON, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense (Ex Officio)
Institute of Medicine
Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care
Charter and Vision Statement
Vision: Our vision is for the development of a continuously learning health system in which science, informatics, incentives, and culture are aligned for continuous improvement and innovation, with best practices seamlessly embedded in the care process, patients and families active participants in all elements, and new knowledge captured as an integral by-product of the care experience.
Goal: By the year 2020, 90 percent of clinical decisions will be supported by accurate, timely, and up-to-date clinical information and will reflect the best available evidence. We believe that this presents a tangible focus for progress toward our vision, that Americans ought to expect at least this level of performance, that it should be feasible with existing resources and emerging tools, and that measures can be developed to track and stimulate progress.
Context: As unprecedented developments in the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of disease bring Americans closer than ever to the promise of personalized health care, we are faced with similarly unprecedented challenges to identify and deliver the care most appropriate for individual needs and conditions. Care that is important is often not delivered. Care that is delivered is often not important. In part, this is due to our failure to apply the evidence that we have about the medical care that is most effective—a failure related to shortfalls in provider knowledge and accountability, inadequate care coordination and support, lack of insurance, poorly aligned payment incentives, and misplaced patient expectations. Increasingly, it is also a result of our limited capacity for timely generation of evidence on the relative effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of available and emerging interventions. Improving the value of the return on our health care investment is a vital imperative that will require much greater capacity to evaluate high-priority clinical interventions, stronger links between clinical research and practice, and reorientation of the incentives to apply new insights. We must quicken our efforts to position evidence development and application as natural outgrowths of clinical care to foster health care that learns.
Approach: The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care serves as a forum to facilitate the collaborative assessment and action around issues central to achieving
the vision and goal stated. The challenges are myriad and include issues that must be addressed to improve evidence development, evidence application, and the capacity to advance progress on both dimensions. To address these challenges, as leaders in their fields, Roundtable members work with their colleagues to identify the issues not being adequately addressed, the nature of the barriers and possible solutions, and the priorities for action and marshal the resources of the sectors represented on the Roundtable to work for sustained public-private cooperation for change. Activities include collaborative exploration of new and expedited approaches to assessing the effectiveness of diagnostic and treatment interventions, better use of the patient care experience to generate evidence on the effectiveness and efficiency of care, identification of assessment priorities, and communication strategies to enhance provider and patient understanding and support for interventions proven to work best and deliver value in health care.
Core concepts and principles: For the purpose of the Roundtable activities, we define science-driven health care broadly to mean that, to the greatest extent possible, the decisions that shape the health and health care of Americans—by patients, providers, payers, and policy makers alike—will be grounded in a reliable evidence base, will account appropriately for individual variation in patient needs, and will support the generation of new insights on clinical effectiveness. Evidence is generally considered to be information from clinical experience that has met some established test of validity, and the appropriate standard is determined according to the requirements of the intervention and clinical circumstance. Processes that involve the development and use of evidence should be accessible and transparent to all stakeholders.
A common commitment to certain principles and priorities guides the activities of the Roundtable and its members, including the commitment to the right health care for each person; putting the best evidence into practice; establishing the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of the medical care delivered; building constant measurement into our health care investments; the establishment of health care data as a public good; shared responsibility distributed equitably across stakeholders, both public and private; collaborative stakeholder involvement in priority settings; transparency in the execution of activities and reporting of results; and subjugation of individual political or stakeholder perspectives in favor of the common good.
This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published workshop summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the workshop summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this workshop summary:
John Concato, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Sheldon Greenfield, University of California, Irvine
Harold Sox, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine
Alexander Walker, Harvard School of Public Health
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this workshop summary was overseen by Eric Larson, Group Health Research Institute. Appointed by the Institute of Medicine, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this workshop summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this workshop summary rests entirely with the rapporteurs and the institution.
Clinical research strains to keep up with the rapid and iterative evolution of medical interventions, clinical practice innovation, and the increasing demand for information on the clinical effectiveness of these advancements. Given the growing availability of archived and real-time digital health data and the opportunities this data provides for research, as well as the increasing number of studies using prospectively collected clinical data, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care, with the support of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), convened a workshop on Observational Studies in a Learning Health System, which is summarized in this publication. Participants included experts from a wide range of disciplines—clinical researchers, statisticians, biostatisticians, epidemiologists, health care informaticians, health care analytics, research funders, health products industry, clinicians, payers, and regulators.
The workshop explored leading edge approaches to observational studies, charted a course for the use of the growing health data utility, and identified opportunities to advance progress. This publication summarizes discussions that considered concepts of rigorous observational study design and analysis, emerging statistical methods, opportunities and challenges of observational studies to complement evidence from experimental methods, treatment heterogeneity, and effectiveness estimates tailored toward individual patients.
The work of the Roundtable is focused on moving toward a continuously learning health system, one where every health care encounter is an opportunity for learning and evidence is applied to ensure and improve
best care practices. Since its inception in 2006, the Roundtable has set out to help realize this vision through the involvement and support of senior leadership from key health care stakeholders. In engaging the nation’s leaders in workshops and other activities, Roundtable members and colleagues contribute to progress on issues important to advancing the development and use of a digital health data utility for knowledge generation and continuous improvement.
Building on this groundwork, the objectives of this workshop were to explore the role of observational studies in the generation of evidence to guide clinical and health policy decisions. Issues of rigor, internal validity and bias were engaged, as well as opportunities for using observational studies to generalize findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and to better understand treatment heterogeneity. Workshop speakers and individual participants strove to identify stakeholder needs and barriers to the broader application of observational studies-generated evidence for decision making by engaging colleagues from disciplines typically underrepresented in clinical evidence discussions.
A number of specific issues were identified by speakers and participants who spoke in the course of the workshop as especially important to accelerate progress in the appropriate use of observational studies for evidence generation. In the following sections we highlight some of the key points that emerged from each of the four topics in the workshop.
The first theme covered in the workshop focused on the challenge to mitigate the potential effects of bias in the absence of randomization. Two of the speakers, Small and Basu, emphasized the role of instrumental variables (IVs) as “natural randomizers” to achieve similarity between compared groups that would strengthen causal inferences. Their contributions included a list of examples of potential IVs, including distance to hospital or health care provider, timing of hospital admission, and insurance plan coverage, among others. The current lack of efficient IVs was noted by several individual workshop participants to be a major limitation of the method. A presentation from Ryan of the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership discussed an empirical approach to measuring bias and error in observational research. Their findings that bias is common and differential by design, analysis, source of data and outcome definition was accompanied by straightforward strategies to measure and mitigate the effects of bias.
Heterogeneity of treatment effect (HTE) was the second theme of the workshop and was discussed both in theory and in specific examples. The lack of frequent HTE in the analysis of many RCTs led some participants to wonder how much HTE is present in clinical research. This view was challenged by Kent who attributed the lack of reliably measured HTE to the failure of information and the low analytical power of conventional analytic methods. It was also noted that many “traditional” RCTs use ex-
clusion and inclusion criteria that may remove HTE from the study. This point was illustrated by one example, presented by Hlatky that described HTE in a comparative effectiveness study of coronary artery bypass grafting and percutaneous coronary intervention using a 20 percent sample of Medicare data.
The third topic engaged by the workshop was generalizing RCT results to broader populations. A presentation by Hernán shifted the emphasis of discussion from the validity of the answer (bias reduction) to emphasize the quality of the question. One of the points highlighted by this discussion was how central the research question is to issues in methods, analysis, and inferences from clinical research. A resulting suggestion, made by individual workshop participants who spoke, was that the analysis of observational studies and RCTs be the same, except for adjustment for any potential baseline confounding.
The final session was on individual risk prediction. The sentiment expressed by many workshop participants was captured in one of the talks that titled its first slide: “When the average applies to no one.” Speakers took on the pragmatic issues of prediction, including the observation that most risk prediction tools do not tailor the instrument to reflect the variability among patients in age, comorbidities, extent and severity of disease, or other relevant features. Among the hopeful suggestions that arose from this session was that electronic health records may be useful to build prediction models, but this was balanced by the acknowledgment that incomplete patient follow up remains the largest barrier to creating prediction rules that are helpful to patients and physicians. Tatonetti presented a data-driven prediction of drug effects and interactions using observational data and addressing “synthetic” associations that occurred when drugs that are coprescribed are also associated with the adverse risks of the other medicine. The authors described a new method, the Statistical Correction of Uncharacterized Bias, to minimize these synthetic associations and validated the method by returning to the laboratory for experimental confirmation of drug disease interactions.
Multiple individuals donated valuable time toward the development of this publication. We would like to acknowledge and offer strong appreciation for the contributors to this volume for their presence at the workshop and their efforts to further develop their presentations into the summaries contained in this publication. We are especially indebted to those who provided sterling expert guidance as members of the Planning Committee: Anirban Basu (University of Washington), Troyen Brennan (CVS/Caremark), Steven Goodman (Stanford University), Louis Jacques (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), Jerome Kassirer (Tufts University School of Medicine), Michael Lauer (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), David Madigan (Columbia University), Sharon-Lise
Normand (Harvard University), Richard Platt (Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute), Burton Singer (University of Florida), Jean Slutsky (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), and Robert Temple (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
Various IOM Roundtable staff played instrumental roles in coordinating the workshop and translating the workshop proceedings into this summary, including Claudia Grossmann, Elizabeth Johnston, Valerie Rohrbach, Julia Sanders, Rob Saunders, and Barret Zimmermann. We would like to recognize Joe Alper for his assistance in drafting this publication. Finally, we want to thank Daniel Bethea, Marton Cavani, Laura Harbold DeStefano, and Chelsea Frakes for helping to coordinate various aspects of review, production, and publication.
An effective and efficient health care system requires a continually evolving evidence base to guide clinical decisions at the patient level and policy decisions at the level of the population level. Observational studies play an important role in complementing other research methods and building this evidence base. We believe Observational Studies in a Learning Health System: Workshop Summary will be a valuable resource as efforts to ensure that learning from digital health data are a crucial part of any health system.
Ralph Horwitz, Co-Chair
Planning Committee on Observational Studies in a
Learning Health System
Senior Vice President, Clinical Sciences Evaluation
Joe Selby, Co-Chair
Planning Committee on Observational Studies in a
Learning Health System
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
J. Michael McGinnis
Executive Director, Roundtable on
Value & Science-Driven Health Care
Institute of Medicine
|AHRQ||Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality|
|CABG||coronary artery bypass grafting|
|CMS||Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services|
|EHR||electronic health record|
|FDA||U.S. Food and Drug Administration|
|IOM||Institute of Medicine|
|IPSM||implicit propensity score matching|
|ITT||intent to treat analysis|
|OMOP||Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership|
|PCI||percutaneous coronary intervention|
|PCORI||Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute|
|RCT||randomized controlled (clinical) trial|
|SCCS||self-controlled case series|