The health systems of industrialized countries increasingly often face the difficulty of ensuring adequate and equitable treatment to a growing number of people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases.

This increase in demand, however, does not match a parallel increase of available economic resources, hence compromising the sustainability of the system. It is therefore essential to measure the quality of care provided and the obtained results (outcomes) in order to establish a rational and appropriate use of resources and to decide how to allocate them.

The course provides the basic elements for the identification of clinical, social and economic indicators to be used and discusses the most useful sources of data for building healthcare quality indicators.

Issues regarding the use of administrative databases, clinical databases and quality of life measures for an integrated assessment of therapeutic interventions, technologies or assistance organization modalities are also addressed.


  • Outcomes research: what is it and why does it matter
  • The measure of quality of care: structural, process and outcome indicators
  • The development of indicators and data sources
  • The use of indicators for monitoring and for continuous improvement of the quality of care
  • Humanistic outcomes: the quality of life and satisfaction measures
  • The validation of questionnaires on quality of life
  • Economic outcomes: direct costs, indirect costs
  • The analysis of cost-effectiveness
  • Outcomes research: examples of Italian and international initiatives