HSC8027 : Health Economics

  • Offered for Year: 2014/15
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Heather Brown
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School


Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of the module is to introduce students to economic thinking and economic techniques which
are of use in formulating and analysing health policy. The first part of the module will deal with
economics and health care systems, in particular market failure, supply side incentives and equity.
The second part of the model will focus primarily on economic evaluation, and will cover a range of
topics, including the measurement and valuation of health and other benefits from health care, priority setting and critical appraisal skills. Health inequalities and determinants of health will also be covered.

Outline Of Syllabus

An introduction to some fundamental concepts of economics, such as opportunity cost and efficiency. How markets work and why they fail in health care. The implications of market failure on the demand and supply sides. What is meant by equity in health care and how successful different health care systems are at addressing/achieving equity. An introduction to cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis and cost-benefit analysis, how and when they should be applied and their pros and cons. Definitions of costs and how costs can be measured and valued in an economic evaluation. Refinements to economic evaluation, such as discounting, marginal analysis and sensitivity analysis. An exploration of different methods for measuring benefits in economic evaluation, including QALYs, HYEs and contingent valuation. How to critically appraise economic evaluation studies. Economic approaches to needs assessment and how programme budgeting and marginal analysis can be used as an economic framework for priority setting. Health inequalities and determinants of health.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities

Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study701:0070:00N/A

Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching and learning methods used, with the emphasis on practical activities in small groups and general interaction, were felt the most appropriate methods for a masters course with relatively small student numbers. Most of the students have significant experience of working in the health service, and the interactive nature of the learning methods enables them to discuss their experience and to relate that to the concepts and ideas being taught, thus aiding their knowledge and understanding of the subject area.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment

Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002000 words

Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is intended to cover the breadth of the course and the 2000 words are divided across a number of short essay questions as well as calculations followed by brief discussion. The rationale for this form of assessment is to assess understanding of key economic concepts such as opportunity cost, discounting and the margin. Longer essay questions allow students to demonstrate their applied knowledge of health economics.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.