Fannie E. Rippel Foundation

Seeding innovations in health

What if…we create medical homes, improve the quality of physical and mental health for the disadvantaged, share savings with providers, and reduce crime?

The ReThink Health system dynamics model helps communities of leaders examine the diverse impacts of different policies and interventions on their local health system and make better and more creative decisions about approaches to redesign.

Important health innovations often begin with a “What if…?” question. However, the full implications of such questions are rarely explored because it is impossible to think through the complexities of the health system with the unaided mind. The result is that system change initiatives often have unintended consequences, deliver disappointing results, and lack widespread community support. ReThink Health’s Dynamics is building a suite of interactive simulation models and a game that respond to common obstacles that threaten regional system change ventures.

Developed in collaboration with an award-winning team of MIT trained system modelers, the ReThink Health model is a sophisticated analytic tool that simulates the behavior of a local health system. It tracks changes in health status, utilization, costs, and equity all within a single, testable framework that is linked to many sources of empirical data. Local leaders can experiment creatively with a local calibration of the ReThink model as a prelude to action in the real world, exposing schemes with significant downsides and building support for plans with promising features. Policy planners and others seeking to better understand and anticipate the likely effects of different interventions and investment strategies gain insight into the long-term trends in health outcomes, care delivery, and costs. Through facilitation and experimentation with the model, stakeholders gain a deeper understanding of their role within the health system and become more informed leaders of change.

Response to the ReThink Health model has been overwhelmingly positive. The Dynamics team is currently working in communities across the country and with Dartmouth on the development of a game based on the models.


ReThink Health: Systems thinking by learning, collaborating across boundaries. National purpose, local action. Redesign to meet health needs at lowest cost.