Jeffrey H. Silber

Jeffrey H. Silber
  • The Nancy Abramson Wolfson Professor of Health Services Research, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Director, Center for Outcomes Research The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology & Critical Care The Perelman School of Medicine
  • Professor of Health Care Management The Wharton School The University of Pennsylvania

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    Center for Outcomes Research
    Roberts Building
    2716 South Street, Room 5123
    Philadelphia, PA 19146-2305

Research Interests: clinical economics, development of new health care outcome measures, health care disparities, measuring health care quality, medical decision making, outcomes of care in cancer, statistical methodogy in outcomes research including multivariate matching

Links: CV, Personal Website



Dr. Silber holds the Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair in Health Services Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is a Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology & Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor of Health Care Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Silber is an internationally known authority on outcomes measurement and severity adjustment for both adult and pediatric applications. He created the adult quality of care measure Failure-to-Rescue (FTR) in 1990 that has been adopted as three specific quality measures by the National Quality Forum (NQF). He has also developed two length of stay outcome measures: Prolonged Length of Stay and Conditional Length of Stay, now applied to both pediatric and adult populations. With Paul Rosenbaum he developed the Omega measure that evaluates outcome measures by estimating the relative contribution of patient to hospital characteristics associated with a specific outcome, and the method of Template Matching to compare hospital cost and quality.  He has published extensively on all aspects of the theory of outcomes measure and model development and validation, as well as the applications of outcomes measures to pressing public health issues.  Much of his recent work focuses on the use of multivariate matching when comparing outcomes, specifically with respect to problems in both pediatric and adult medicine and surgery, disparities, and cancer. Dr. Silber has twice been awarded the Article of the Year Award in Health Services Research from AcademyHealth, the leading professional organization concerning Health Services Research in the U.S.

Dr. Silber helped to establish and has served as the Director of the Center for Outcomes Research since its inception in 1997.  The center is a multidisciplinary health services research hub for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania investigators and external academic and institutional collaborators which aims to improve health outcomes through the development, testing and application of innovative, practical metrics which serve as tools to transform the quality and efficiency of health care.

Dr. Silber teaches two courses at the University of Pennsylvania:  HCMG212 – Health Care Quality and Outcomes:  Measurement and Management at the Wharton School and EPI580 – Outcomes Research at the Perelman School of Medicine.

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Past Courses

  • HCMG212 - Health Care Quality and Outcomes: Measurement and Management

    This course will familiarize students with methods used to assess the quality of hospital or provider health care using outcomes data, and to understand and evaluate studies involving health care outcomes. Students are exposed to the mechanics of hospital quality evaluation and challenged to evaluate the medical and health services research literature on health care evaluation, as well as to make inferences regarding hospital quality and the comparison or rankings of hospitals or providers. Topics will include the history of health care outcomes analysis; the conceptual framework for outcome studies; consumer demand for information; an overview of medical data and data collection systems; a description of outcome statistics and severity adjstments currently in use; the study of excess variation in outcomes; and the use of guidelines to assess outcomes. By the end of the course, students will have developed a thorough appreciation of the current methods used by policy makers, researchers, and health care providers to evaluate medical outcomes, as well as those used by consumers to choose hospitals and providers.

  • HCMG900 - Proseminar in Health Economics

    900-001 Proseminar in Health Econometrics: This course will cover empirical methods used in economics research with an emphasis on applications in health care and public economics. The methods covered include linear regression, matching, panel data models, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, bunching,qualitative and limited dependent variable models, count data, quantile regressions, and duration models. The discussion will be a mix of theory and application, with emphasis on the latter. The readings consist of a blend of classic and recent methodological and empirical papers in economics . Course requirements include several problem sets, paper presentations, an econometric analysis project and a final exam. The course is open to doctoral students from departments other than Health Care Management with permission from the instructor. ,900-002 Proseminar in Health Economics: Models and Methods: This course is intended to provide entering doctoral students with information on the variety of health economics models, methods, topics, and publication outlets valued and used by faculty in the HCMG doctoral program and outside of it. The course has two main parts: the first, to acquaint students with theoretical modeling tools used frequently by health economists. This part of the course involves a number of lectures coupled with students presentations of class projects in a workshop environment. The second part of the course will offer presentations from the health economics, management and operations research community at Penn on a research method or strategy they have found helpful and they think is important for all doctoral students to know.

Awards and Honors

  • Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair of Health Services Research, 2013
  • AcademyHealth Article-of-the-Year, 2011
  • AcademyHealth Abstract-of-the-Year, 2007
  • The Hummeler Research Prize (Article-of-the-Year), Joseph Stokes, Jr. Research Institute, 2003
  • AcademyHealth (formerly Association for Health Services Research) Article-of-the-Year, 2003
  • Samuel P. Martin Health Services Research Award, 2000
  • Ethel Brown Foerderer Fund for Excellence Award, 1997

In the News

  • Check Up: Breast cancer: Why blacks fare worse, Philadelphia Inquirer - 08/25/2013
  • Study finds why black women less likely to survive breast cancer, CBS News - 07/24/2013
  • Health at diagnosis may drive breast cancer survival gap, Reuters - 07/23/2013
  • Black-White Divide Persists in Breast Cancer, New York Times - 07/23/2013
  • Failure and Rescue, The New Yorker - 10/07/2012
  • How aggressive is your hospital?, New York Times - 02/03/2011
  • What and where is the “waste” in health care?, The Incidental Economist - 01/12/2011
  • Children’s hospitals may face financial hardship, Pittsburgh Business Times - 03/08/1999

Knowledge @ Wharton


Latest Research

Sanjay V. Desai, David A. Asch, Lisa M. Bellini, Krisda H. Chaiyachati, Manqing Liu, Alice L. Sternberg, James Tonascia, Alyssa M. Yeager, Jeremy M. Asch, Joel T. Katz, Mathias Basner, David W. Bates, Karl Y. Bilimoria, David F. Dinges, Orit Even-Shoshan, David M. Shade, Jeffrey H. Silber, Dylan Small, Kevin G. Volpp, and Judy A. Shea for the iCOMPARE Research Group (2018), Education Outcomes in a Duty-Hour Flexibility Trial in Internal Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, 378, pp. 1494-1508.
All Research

In the News

Grading Hospital Quality with a Level Playing Field

By “matching” patients across a group of hospitals, a new paper co-authored by two Wharton professors suggests a fairer and more accurate way of assessing the quality of health care providers.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2014/05/20
All News

Awards and Honors

Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair of Health Services Research 2013
All Awards