ONC8028 : Practical Health Economics for Cancer (E-learning)

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims of this module are:

To introduce students to economic principles and tools which can be applied to healthcare with a focus on oncology and palliative care.

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. Next, we will move onto Value in Health Care – what is it and how is it measured. Following on from this we will look at the Cancer Drug Fund and the UK approach to commissioning new cancer medicines. Within this topic, we will look at marketing and promotion – does it make a difference to prescribers and models of joint working between industry and healthcare systems. This will lead on to affordability, what next for cancer medicines.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion310:0030:00Independent assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading125:0060:00Online content
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity123:0036:00eJournal
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity22:004:00Wiki
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0048:00Supplemental reading
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion112:0022:00Via discussion board
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, interactive lecture notes and activities. Student's responses to the activities will be posted on the discussion board on blackboard (used for online discussion) to foster dialogue between students and the instructors. The instructors will monitor and comment on all student responses to the activities 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
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M10Participation in collaborative e-learning activities throughout the module.
Essay2M45Maximum 1,500 words
Oral Examination2M45Recorded powerpoint presentation. Max 10 slides, max 15 minute presentation.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MGroup activity
Oral Presentation2M5 minutes and 2 slide maximum to identify summative assessment topic and familiarise with the recording software
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is intended to cover the breadth of the course and takes the form of a written exercise of a short essay that is approximately 1,500 words in length which will cover the basics of health economics. 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 and apply this to a real world issue related to the delivery of oncology and palliative care. The second assessment will be an oral presentation covering an aspect of market access. The presentation allows assessment of student’s ability to critically analyse and present to an audience of peers a focused critiqued piece of work.

There will be two formative assessment exercises:

1.       One will be written on the economics of the health care market. The first formative assessment will be a group work activity if the student numbers are sufficient. It is expected that students will find an article in the popular press that demonstrates a market failure. The students then need to discuss potential ways to alleviate this market failure demonstrating an understanding of economic principles and critical thinking. Responses to the formative assessment exercise should be posted on each individual student’s journal and all students will receive personalised feedback on their answers to help them prepare for the assignment of the short essay.
2.       The second formative assessment will be related to market access and will be a five minute presentation with a maximum of two slides to familiarize the students’ with the presentation software and presenting online. Students will also receive personalized feedback for this assessment,
A participation grade is included to encourage and reward the student's engagement with the collaborative activities. The collaborative activities including posting on the discussion board and a wiki give the students an opportunity to discuss economic principles in practice and consolidate their learning.

Should a student fail the participation assessment and have to undertake a re-sit they will have to complete a different form of assessment. The student will be asked to look at 2 participation activities as identified by the module leader/team and submit a 500 word written summary (approx. 250 words per activity).

Reading Lists