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PU5546: HEALTH ECONOMICS (2021-2022)

Last modified: 22 Oct 2021 09:35

Course Overview

Resources available for the provision and payment for health care are limited. However, knowledge of economics helps ensure that available resources are used in the most effective way possible. Economics allows more informed decision making about a variety of issues: choosing between alternative treatments; setting priorities between patients; choosing between alternative new technologies; organising the provision of health care.

In this course students will acquire a knowledge and understanding of:

  • Key themes of economic theory applied to health care
  • Some of the main techniques of health care evaluation
  • Main arguments concerning alternative systems for organising and financing health care

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Rodolfo Hernandez

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the application of economics to health care.  It does not assume any prior knowledge of economics.
The material for this course is divided in five units. The course starts with an introduction to health economics, in which the key concepts of demand and supply are applied to health care (Unit 1). It continues with the analysis of the main alternative systems for organising and financing health care as well as discussion on payment to hospitals and doctors (Unit 2 – Health Care Systems, Financing and Payment Methods). Unit 3 considers the main policy interventions in population health behaviours – smoking, alcohol, poor diet, physical activity – and the role of behavioural economics to inform policy decisions. Finally, Units 3 and 4 explore the economic evaluation of health care technologies: basic concepts, the measurement of cost and benefits, decision modelling and the critical appraisal of economic evaluation studies.
Teaching and learning for this course will involve a combination of staged release online PowerPoint presentations, self-study (with written commentaries), practical exercises, use of discussion boards, and staged assignments. As a general guide, you can expect to spend approximately 150 hours total on online learning, including around 50 hours of directed learning, 40 hours in preparation for assessments, and a further minimum 40 hours in independent study.

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Short answers to 3 questions (400 words each)   50%    

Critical assessment of an economic evaluation (1400 words)  50%

Resit for students taking the course in AY20/21:

Overall resit assessment for those failing the course (i.e. failing either of the two assessments)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ReflectionAnalyseRecognise the contribution of economics to health and health care and how it can assist decision making
ConceptualUnderstandExplain the different ways in which health care can be financed and delivered
ConceptualUnderstandDescribe the key theories underpinning health economics
ReflectionEvaluateDemonstrate what economic evaluation is and its underlying principles
ReflectionEvaluateCritically appraise published economic evaluations

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