MSc/PGDip/PGCert Health Informatics (UCL/UoM Joint Award)

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Learning Health Systems (UCL)

Unit code IIDS62201
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module is taught at UCL.

In health systems, evidence, healthcare and science have been sub-optimally aligned. Improvements in the availability of electronic data and tools for its analysis offer new opportunities to implement learning health systems. This module explores how learning health systems, driven by patient-centred data, can overcome the shortcomings of existing frameworks of evidence-based healthcare and healthcare quality.

Trainees will plan the evaluation of a digital intervention to improve the management of a long term condition using the principles of a Learning Health Systems.


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

Specific aims are:

•         To introduce and probe the concepts of evidence-based healthcare, quality improvement and learning health systems.

•         To consider the role of information and evidence in ensuring safe, high quality healthcare.

•         To foster the development of core skills of information retrieval and critical appraisal.

•         To understand the infrastructure, data flows, ethics and human factors underlying a learning health system

•         To critically evaluate an exemplar of a learning health system.

•         To explore the necessary steps in creating learning health systems

Learning outcomes

• Subject-Specific Knowledge

1.     • Review the merits and demerits of theoretical frameworks of quality.

•       Critique approaches to defining quality metrics in healthcare.

•       Explain the principles of evidence based healthcare and their contribution to patient care and service delivery.

•       Understand the concept of a learning health system

•       Demonstrate the ability to identify, extract, critically appraise and apply information to address a range of healthcare situations.

•       Suggest strategies for implementation of learning health systems.


• Intellectual, Academic and Research Skills

1.     Be aware of relevant clinical/health informatics literature.


• Practical and Transferrable Skills

1.     Prepare written reports

2.     Measure data quality and how to address poor quality.

Teaching and learning methods

The module is delivered over nine weeks using Moodle as the Virtual Learning Environment. Students attend at UCL for an intensive block of three days of face to face teaching, usually in week four or five. Students on campus may attend two additional seminars, these are also live-streamed and recorded for other students. Formative and summative assignments are submitted via Moodle. 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback from module tutor and personal tutor

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

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