UCL Institute of Health Informatics


Learning Health Systems

Clinicians and managers around the globe are struggling with the problem of how to deliver and manage high quality care in increasingly complex healthcare systems. Evidence-based healthcare and quality improvement have long been promoted as key paradigms in improving healthcare quality. As electronic healthcare data and informatics have gained provenance, the possibility of learning health systems is gaining traction around the world to reduce waste and increase patient safety.This module compares and contrasts these three frameworks, considering how they each play a role in contemporary healthcare. As well as examining the principles underlying evidence-based healthcare and quality improvement, it explores practical steps to support clinicians, managers and policy makers in implementing learning health systems.

The overall aim of the module is to explore the relationship between evidence, quality and learning health systems in healthcare.

Module code


UCL credits


Course Length

9 Weeks


13 – 15 January 2021

Assessment Dates

22 February 2021

Module organisers

Dr Amitava Banerjee Please direct queries to courses-IHI@ucl.ac.uk


  • Implications of the learning healthcare system to science, care delivery and evidence
  • Theoretical frameworks of quality in healthcare
  • Defining quality metrics in healthcare
  • Healthcare governance and regulation
  • The relationship(s) between quality and governance/regulation
  • Evidence-based healthcare & its contribution to patient care & service delivery
  • Critical appraisal of evidence an evidence synthesis
  • Data monitoring for quality improvement

Teaching and learning methods

Web-based distance learning in the UCL Virtual Learning Environment.


Summative assessment: Written report worth 100% of the overall module mark.

Selected Reading List

Friedman C, Rigby M. (2013) Conceptualising and creating a global learning health system. Int J Med Inform. Apr;82(4):e63-71.

Friedman C, Rubin J, Brown J, Buntin M, Corn M, Etheredge L, Gunter C, Musen M, Platt R, Stead W, Sullivan K, Van Houweling D. (2015) Toward a science of learning systems: a research agenda for the high-functioning Learning Health System. J Am Med Inform Assoc. Jan;22(1):43-50.

Sackett DL, Rosenberg WM, Gray JA, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. (1996) Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ. Jan 13;312(7023):71-2.

Banerjee A, Stanton E, Lemer C, Marshall M. (2012) What can quality improvement learn from evidence-based medicine? J R Soc Med. Feb;105(2):55-9.