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HSC8027 : Health Economics

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Stephen Rice
  • Lecturer: Dr Laura Ternent, Dr Hosein Shabaninejad, Dr Ashleigh Kernohan, Dr Cristina Fernandez-Garcia, Miss Tara Homer, Professor Luke Vale, Professor John Wildman, Dr Nawaraj Bhattarai
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this module is to introduce students to economic thinking and techniques which are of use in formulating and analysing health policy.

Session 1 will outline introduce economics and basic economic theory of the demand and supply of health.

Session 2 will introduce economic evaluation which is a type of economic analysis used to inform decision making, and discuss equity considerations.

Session 3 will
cover different types of health outcome valuation techniques used to inform economic evaluation.

Session 4 will cover discrete event choice experiments to evaluate people’s preferences, which is used in economic evaluation. The costing methods used in economic evaluation will be covered.

Session 5 will introduce economic modelling, which is used to estimate outcomes of health care interventions in economic evaluations not solely based on the outcomes reported in single clinical studies. Students will also be introduced to priority setting techniques.

Session 6 will look at the critical appraisal of economic evaluations and priority setting techniques.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will provide an introduction to some fundamental concepts of economics that are relevant for health policy decision making and analysis. Health economic studies are widely used in the UK to inform treatment guidelines and the organization of health services to maximise the health of the population and to improve equity. The first and second sessions will focus on how markets work, why they fail in healthcare, an introduction to health economics and economic evaluation, and equity considerations. The three main types of economic evaluation (cost-effectiveness analysis, cost- utility analysis and cost-benefit analysis), how and when they should be applied, and their pros and cons will be discussed. The third and fourth sessions will focus on different methods for measuring benefits in economic evaluation, including QALYs, and methods to estimate costs. There will be a group exercise and discussion on outcomes. Preference elicitation methods will include contingent valuation and discrete choice experiments. There will be a costing session which will include the definitions of costs and how costs can be identified, measured, and valued in an economic evaluation. The fifth session will introduce students to economic modelling and priority setting techniques, which will make use of the economic evaluation tools covered in days 2 to 4. The introduction to economic modelling will explain what an economic model is, when modelling may be needed within an economic evaluation and advantages and disadvantage of economic modelling. Priority setting will discuss the tools used to facilitate healthcare decisions at a local level. The sixth session will focus on how to interpret and critically appraise an economic evaluation and there will be a priority setting exercise. Students will then be introduced to the assignment.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture63:0018:00PIP: interactive lectures and group work
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery10:000:00PIP: Assignment surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study721:0072:00N/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 a 2000 word assignment split evenly between two essays. The two essays cover applied topic in health economics to provide students with the opportunity to apply economic theory to practice. This type of assignment allows students to utilise their analytical skills and knowledge of theory.

Reading Lists