Not available in 2018/19
HP4E6E      Half Unit
Measuring the Performance of Health Services and Systems

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Irene Pappanicolas

Professor Andrew Street


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Health Economics and Policy (LSE and Chicago). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Health systems are increasing introducing more systematic ways to assess the performance of health services and health care organizations. This course aims to consider the new opportunities and challenges associated with the measuring the performance of these entities, and using them to improve performance itself. In particular, the course will examine the key dimension of health care performance, including: health improvement, patient experience and cost of care. This course will explore the types of measurement instruments and analytic tools that are used to measure the performance of the entire health system, but also those used to examine the performance of health care organizations within systems, 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.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

All students will have the opportunity to participate in additional lectures undertaken by external guests. These lectures will be run every Monday and Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm during the teaching period at LSE.

In addition, students will be given the option to participate in a three-hour webinar hosted at least 10 days before the due date of the take-home assessment. The webinar will consist of two-hours of lectures and one hour of question time.

Formative coursework

Throughout the seminars students will get direct feedback from their seminar leader as to the assessed presentation. However, as formative work they will be given the option of a draft run of their presentation to the seminar leader in the seminar before. As formative course work they will be given the option of submitting an outline of a similar essay question to course tutors before the submission of their assessed essay.

Indicative reading

Papanicolas I and Smith PC (Eds), Health System Performance Comparison: An agenda for policy, information and research. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2013.

PC Smith, E Mossialos, I Papanicolas S. Leatherman (Eds), Performance measurement for health system improvement: experiences, challenges and prospects. Cambridge University Press, 2010;

Berwick, Donald M., Thomas W. Nolan, and John Whittington. "The triple aim: care, health, and cost." Health affairs 27.3 (2008): 759-769.

Institute of Medicine, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, DC, National Academies Press, 2001;

World Health Organization (WHO), (2000) The world health report 2000:Health systems: Improving performance, Geneva: WHO Publications


Essay (70%, 3000 words) in the LT and ST.
In class assessment (30%) in the MT.

The summative assessment is made up of an in-seminar presentation (assessed in groups of 5) which accounts for 30% of the final mark, and an essay (assessed individually for each student) which accounts for 70% of the final mark. The group presentation will take place in the final seminar and is 15 minutes long. The essay will be submitted within 2 months of the modules completion and be a 3000 word essay.

Students are assessed on the content of the presentation, where particular guidelines are circulated before the project begins. The guidelines note the 5 criteria on which students are marked: answering the question, presenting a coherent proposal, representing their intuitional context, contributing the discussion, and sticking to time), and detail what a fail, pass, merit and distinction represents in each of these categories. In addition we use a peer evaluation software which we have developed together with TLC to ask students to feedback on group dynamics. 

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills