Faculty of Medical Sciences Online Learning


ONC8021 : Health Economics (E-learning)

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  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Heather Brown
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aims of this module are: 

•to introduce students to economic principles
•to encourage students to develop an understanding of how economic principles can be applied in healthcare decision making with a particular focus on oncology and palliative care.
•to present students with the health economist’s toolkit to be able to critically evaluate economic problems. 
•to demonstrate how economic principles can be applied to real life problems faced by healthcare professionals and policymakers in the oncology and palliative care field.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will start with an introduction to economic thinking and define key terms such as scarcity, opportunity cost, and priority setting that will be needed for subsequent topics. Followed by topics related to the economics of health care markets such as demand and supply of medicines, market failure, and equity. The second half of the module will focus on economic evaluation. Economic evaluation will be defined and there will be discussion on why it is important. The different types of economic evaluation: cost-minimisation analysis, cost-effective analysis, cost-utility analysis, cost-consequence analysis and cost-benefit analysis will be covered.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
CategoryActivityNumberLengthStudent HoursComment
Guided Independent Study Assessment preparation and completion 2 10:00 20:00  
Guided Independent Study Directed research and reading 12 4:00 48:00 Online content
Guided Independent Study Reflective learning activity 8 1:00 8:00 eJournal
Guided Independent Study Student-led group activity 1 2:00 2:00 Wiki
Guided Independent Study Independent study 12 1:00 12:00 Supplemental reading
Guided Independent Study Online Discussion 10 1:00 10:00  
Total       100:00  
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Each week of the module will cover a different topic area. Each topic area will have one or two key study documents to read. After reading each document, there will be a set of questions for the student to consider. Thoughts and comments regarding these questions should be posted on the course blog (used for online discussion) to foster dialogue between students and to help with the consolidation of knowledge and understanding of the learning outcomes.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Portfolio 1 M 10 Participation in collaborative e-learning activities throughout the module.
Computer assessment 1 M 20 Online Multiple Choice Questions (10)
Written exercise 1 M 70 Short answer questions and short essay (total max 1500 words)
Formative Assessments
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetComment
Written exercise 1 M N/A
Written exercise 1 M N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is intended to cover the breadth of the course and takes the form of a written exercise, including a short essays and short answer questions, and a multiple choice test. The rationale for this form of assessment is to assess understanding of key economic concepts such as opportunity cost, discounting and methodological approaches such as cost-effective analysis. The written questions allow students to demonstrate their applied knowledge of health economics. 

There will be two formative assessment exercises on the economics of the health care market and on applying the principles of economic evaluation to test student understanding and provide preparation for the formal assessment. Responses to the formative assessment exercise should be posted on the blog and all students will receive personalised feedback on their answers.

A participation grade is included to reflect the student's engagement with the collaborative activities included throughout this e-learning module.

Reading Lists

  • Reading List Website : rlo.ncl.ac.uk