Against a backdrop of great technological advances and delivery system innovations, healthcare systems are facing daunting challenges. Over the past half-century, research on cardiovascular diseases has manifested remarkable advances in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Yet, great challenges remain, primarily due to a lack of strong research evidence about how best to improve the quality, outcomes, and efficiency in health systems with a focus on cardiovascular diseases. Outcomes research aims to produce such evidence.

In addition to briefly reviewing key epidemiological trends in cardiovascular diseases in Europe and globally, this course will introduce key 'evidence-practice' gaps in cardiovascular diseases. The first part of the course provides an overview of the definition of quality, its key components, and its measurement in different health care systems. The second part offers a critical perspective on the literature evaluating quality improvement interventions focused on the cardiovascular disease field. The third part focuses on the basics of study design for evaluating quality improvement interventions, programmes, and policies, distinguishing between strong and weak research designs.