SA4D4      Half Unit
Measuring Health System Performance

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Miss Diana Quirmbach OLD2.59


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Health Policy. This course is available on the MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in Global Health, MSc in Health, Population and Society, MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics), MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy) and MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course aims to present a framework to discuss the opportunities and challenges with performance measurement in health care, examine the various dimensions and levels of health system performance, identify the measurement instruments and analytic tools needed, and examine the implications of these issues for policy makers and regulators. Lectures generally focus on measuring health system performance in high-income countries but draw on the experience of other countries where relevant.

After taking this course students are expected to:

- understand the principles of performance measurement

- appreciate the challenges, approaches, and opportunities in performance measurement in four dimensions: population health, patient outcomes, equity, quality and appropriateness of care, and productivity

- understand the methodological issues facing performance measurement relating to risk adjustment, developing composite measures, and measuring attribution and causality

  - identify key issues relevant to policy makers relating to: developing targets and reporting on progress to the public, and developing incentives to improve performance


15 hours of lectures and 24 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Indicative reading

Papanicolas I, Smith P (Eds) Health System Performance Comparison: An Agenda for Policy, Information and Research. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2013; P Smith, E Mossialos, I Papanicolas S. Leatherman (Eds), Performance measurement for health system improvement: experiences, challenges and prospects.  Cambridge University Press, 2010. Institute of Medicine, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, DC, National Academies Press, 2001; OECD, Measuring up: improving health system performance in OECD countries. Paris: OECD, 2002. World Health Organization (WHO), (2000) The world health report 2000:Health systems: Improving performance, Geneva: WHO Publications


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Presentation (20%) and project (30%) in the LT.

The coursework consists of an in class group presentation and a written report based on the group presentations.

This is a similar course as SA4G6 Measuring Health System Performance (modular) but it has different teaching and assessment arrangements.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 9.7
Merit 81.6
Pass 8.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: 59

Average class size 2014/15: 14

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 78.5%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)