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AIMS: It is increasingly recognised that tools are required for assessing and benchmarking quality of care in order to improve it. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) is developing a suite of quality indicators (QIs) to evaluate cardiovascular care and support the delivery of evidence-based care. This paper describes the methodology used for their development. METHODS AND RESULTS: We propose a four-step process for the development of the ESC QIs. For a specific clinical area with a gap in care delivery, the QI development process includes: 1) the identification of key domains of care by constructing a conceptual framework of care; 2) the construction of candidate QIs by conducting a systematic review of the literature; 3) the selection of a final set of QIs by obtaining expert opinions using the modified Delphi method; and 4) the undertaking of a feasibility assessment by evaluating different ways of defining the QI specifications for the proposed data collection source. For each of the four steps, key methodological areas need to be addressed to inform the implementation process and avoid misinterpretation of the measurement results. CONCLUSION: Detailing the methodology for the ESC QIs construction enables healthcare providers to develop valid and feasible metrics to measure and improve the quality of cardiovascular care. As such, high-quality evidence may be translated into clinical practice and the 'evidence-practice' gap closed.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Heart J Qual Care Clin Outcomes

Publication Date



Cardiovascular disease, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Quality Improvement, Quality Indicators