P7. Clinical Epidemiology

The programme’s work is focused on the study and analysis of the methods, processes and results related to the different aspects of clinical care of populations (diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and patient safety) to support making health-related decisions and promote conducting the most suitable and effective research in the field of healthcare, contributing to its maximum effectiveness, safety and sustainability.

Strategic objectives

  • Identify and analyse the relevant determinants and processes of population clinical care.
  • Identify safe, effective and efficient health interventions from both the study of new or emerging interventions that have an important potential impact on population health and the evaluation of determinants of use and results of interventions already offered as a part of services through advanced epidemiological methods in primary and synthesis studies.
  • Conduct synthesis research on relevant health interventions in connection with the National Health System’s needs.
  • Identify and analyse the knowledge gaps, asynchronies and obstacles in the process of disseminating and transferring biomedical research results with respect to healthcare needs by developing and adapting new methodologies for generating and managing knowledge and analysing and transferring results.
  • Prepare programmes for transferring and disseminating research findings among different healthcare agents and recipients and health policy formulating agents.
  • Prepare programmes for transferring and disseminating research findings among different healthcare agents and recipients.
  • Prepare programmes for incorporating the opinion/participation of citizens in choosing healthcare knowledge of interest and in prioritizing and adapting different actions.

Lines of Research

  • Evaluation of the efficacy of clinical interventions, healthcare strategies and health policies: primary and secondary research (systematic review and meta-analysis).
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness, suitability, efficiency and safety of healthcare interventions and strategies.
  • Developments and innovations in clinical-epidemiological research methodology, including the construction and validation of new health indicators in clinical care.
  • Development of tools for knowledge transfer.

Strategic Subprogrammes

1. Study of the Clinical Healthcare Process and of the Observed Results

The information available in Spain for integrally analysing the clinical care and healthcare process for different diseases is limited, because the healthcare system is transferred to Spanish regions. The general objective is to approach the study of the clinical healthcare process and the results observed in highly prevalent diseases having an important socioeconomic impact. The study of the diagnostic methods used, the derivation of prognosis models and their validation and the analysis of the determinants of variability in clinical practice among professionals, hospital centres and geographic areas is contemplated.

The active projects linked to this programme are comprised within the MAPAC (Mejora de la Adecuación del Proceso Asistencial y Clínico- Improvement of the Suitability of the Clinical Healthcare Process) initiatives. These projects evaluate aspects related to the healthcare process under standard conditions, describe the diagnostic approach, therapeutic approach and the clinical results observed in the analysed pathologies, furthermore comparing the healthcare process observed with the updated evidence on practices and recommendations based on evidence and analysing its robustness. The feasibility and the impact of specific interventions aimed at adapting clinical practice to said recommendations are also evaluated.

2. Study of the Health Intervention Efficacy and Safety Determinants

In Spain, the independent experimental clinical research activity is underdeveloped compared to other countries from both the quantitative and qualitative viewpoint. Some of the key aspects of this situation are: few independent multi-centre trials are conducted; most of the clinical trials conducted are sponsored by the industry for regulatory purposes and are often plagued by important methodological issues or limitations; there is a lack of information about aspects relating to quality of life, toxicity, safety or cost-effectiveness of the analysed interventions. Participation in informal research networks, some of which are international and are led by reference groups, offers the chance for our groups to participate in and drive clinical research that is relevant to patient and system needs.

3. Study of the Validity and Usefulness of Diagnostic Tests

This subprogramme deals with the study of new diagnostic technologies, including tests based on new “-ohmic” technologies, as well as the study of tests that are already implemented in practice. However, the diagnostic effectiveness of these tests and their impact on health and the subsequent use of services are unknown.

4. Methodology, Clinical Records and Scientific Dissemination

The purpose of this subprogramme is to contribute to improving the quality of clinical-epidemiological research, the processes for disseminating and transferring results to clinical practice, and to enhance the use of quality clinical information records. It essentially focuses on participation in preparing clinical practice guidelines.

Attached Groups

See spanish website for furher information about research groups participating in this program.

Attached groups (Spanish)