Welcome to the Institute on Healthcare Systems

Christopher Tompkins, Associate Professor and Director, Institute on Healthcare Systems
Christopher P. Tompkins, MMHS'82, PhD'91, Director

The Institute on Healthcare Systems (IHS) is home to many innovations in healthcare research and policy, and is dedicated to providing rigorous technical solutions to policymakers and other stakeholders who are striving to improve quality, efficiency, and value. We respect the complexity of healthcare, the corresponding need for rigorous and robust approaches to meaningful and stable reform, and the vital strength of empirical illumination and validation.

IHS was built originally on the vast experience in national health policy of our founders, Stuart Altman and Stan Wallack. Their tradition continues with accomplishments of our director, Christopher Tompkins, including his leadership in developing the shared-savings payment model and related delivery system innovations, hospital value-based purchasing, and  a comprehensive episode-of-care system for Medicare and the public domain. Similarly, our deputy director, Jennifer Perloff, has led IHS studies in value for capitated delivery systems, and the potential roles of nurse practitioners to implement sustainable delivery system reforms.

Christine Bishop is a national expert on financing of post-acute and long-term care, as well as the economics of healthcare labor markets. Donald Shepard and colleagues have done pioneering and enduring work in cost-effectiveness analysis, domestically and internationally. John Chapman, Moaven Razavi and Chris Sistrom are leaders in developing groundbreaking tools and approaches for transforming substantial aspects of healthcare services.

IHS staff also covers a range of delivery systems issues, such as Cindy Thomas' work in prescription drug policy and state health reform. Given the broad range of work done at IHS, our research spans both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Jeff Prottas, for example, is an expert in program implementation and evaluative case studies. Grant Ritter provides expertise in statistics and econometric methods. Palmira Santos spearheads organizational and delivery system reforms aimed at improving quality for vulnerable populations ranging from neonates to the elderly.  

As health care organizations increasingly enter new reimbursement arrangements like global and episode-based payment, Rob Mechanic has led several new studies evaluating how organizations are adapting to these new payment models.

Policy analysis is an important component of the work at IHS and is led by Rob Mechanic at the Health Industry Forum and Michael Doonan at the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum. 

Karen Donelan joins IHS as inaugural Stuart H. Altman Chair in U.S. Health Policy

Dr. Donelan is recognized for her skill in designing surveys to measure the experiences, well-being, and work roles of health professionals. Her current and recent national projects include studies of:

  • Gender and race equity and inclusion in science and health
  • Optimal staffing to improve health care for frail older adults and their caregivers
  • The roles of health teams in emergency, intensive and critical care
  • The integration of nursing and social work in care management for complex populations
  • Systems of care for people with mental illnesses and people with disabilities.