HP4E6E      Half Unit
Measuring the Performance of Health Services and Systems

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Irene Papanicolas and Prof 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 increasingly introducing more systematic ways to assess the performance of health services and health care organizations. This course considers the opportunities and challenges associated with measuring the performance of these entities and how measurement can be translated into performance improvement. In particular, the course will examine: the key dimensions of health care performance, including: health improvement, patient experience and cost of care; the measurement instruments and analytic tools used to measure the performance of the entire health system and of health care organizations within systems; and the implications of measurement on incentive and policy design for policy makers and regulators. Lectures draw on case studies from in high-income countries but the conceptual ideas are of general relevance to all countries and contexts.


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 webinar hosted at least 10 days before the due date of the take-home assessment.

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.
  • PC Smith, A Street (2006) Concepts and challenges in measuring the performance of health care organisations. The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Edward Elgar.


Essay (70%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Presentation (30%) in the MT.

The 30% presentation will be a group presentation. 

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: 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