HP4E6E      Half Unit
Measuring the Performance of Health Services and Systems

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Irene Papanicolas COW 3.04 and Prof Andrew Street COW 1.02


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.


This course will be delivered online over a period of six weeks in Lent Term. The course will be delivered as a combination of lectures and seminars, totalling a minimum of 30 hours. Students will have access to lecture material delivered as short online videos. Seminars will take place online and students will work in small groups on structured learning activities set by the course lead.

Formative coursework

The formative assessment is an early draft of the first section of the 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 (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: 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