PUB HLTH 7081 - Health Economics
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019
General Course Information
Course Code PUB HLTH 7081 Course Health Economics Coordinating Unit Public Health Term Semester 2 Level Postgraduate Coursework Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Intensive Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Incompatible PUB HLTH 7081OL Course Description Health economics is the study of how scarce healthcare resources are allocated among competing interventions and among groups in society. This course introduces basic concepts and practical issues faced by decision makers at all levels in the health system in allocating scarce resources so that the choices they make maximise health benefits to the population. This course has four main learning modules each comprising a set of lectures and problem-solving practicals: (1) An introduction to key concepts of health economics (e.g. opportunity costs), the demand for and supply of health services, fundamentals of markets and the price mechanism with a focus on the healthcare market; (2) An introduction to economic evaluation in healthcare, with an emphasis on identifying, measuring, valuing and analysing health outcomes and costs. (3) This module focuses on presentation and interpretation of the results of economic evaluation and the use of economic evaluation to inform funding decisions (4) An overview of the organisation of health care (provision and funding). The organisation and finance of the Australian health system will be specifically analysed and compared internationally.
Course Coordinator: Dr Hossein Afzali
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesUpon successful completion of this course, a student will be able to:
1 Interpret and appropriately apply the key concepts of economics within the context of the health system; 2 Debate the relative merits of equity considerations in setting priorities for a health system; 3 Understand approaches to identify and value costs and outcomes to include in economic evaluation; 4 Describe major types of economic evaluation and to understand their use in the decision-making process; 5 Recognise and apply key steps in critically reviewing economic evaluations; 6 Understand and describe the main features of the Australian health system- in particular how it differs from other salient national health systems according to how services are delivered and purchased; 7 Write concise reports on health economic issues demonstrating sound knowledge and skills to apply analytic thinking for a scientific debate and/or problem solving.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
2-5 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
1, 2, 5-7 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
1-6 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
1-7 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
6-7 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
Required ResourcesNo single general textbook covers the whole subject matter of this course. Much of the reading resources for this course will be sourced from peer-reviewed journals available electronically through the Barr Smith Library and from official and semi-official reports appearing on the World Wide Web. There will be assigned readings to complement the lectures and practicals. These readings will be available on the University Intranet (MyUni: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/myuni/) to which all enrolled students will have access.
Recommended ResourcesThe following books and peer-reviewed journal articles are avaibale through the Barr Smith Library
Module 1: Key concepts of health economics
• Culyer AJ, Newhouse JP. Handbook of health economics. 1st ed. Burlington: Elsevier Science; 2007.
• Culyer AJ. The dictionary of health economics. 2nd ed. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar; 2010.
• Glied S, Smith P. The Oxford handbook of health economics. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2011.
• Feldstein PJ. Health care economics. 7th ed. New York: Delmar Publishers; 2012.
Module 2: Economic evaluation
• Jefferson T, Demicheli V, Mugford M. Elementary economic evaluation in health care. 2nd ed. London: BMJ Publishing; 2000.
• Drummond M. Sculpher M, Torrance G, et al. Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programmes. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2005.
• Elliot R, Payne K. Essentials of economic evaluation in healthcare. 1st ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2005.
· Simoens S. Health Economic Assessment: A Methodological Primer, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009; 6:2950-2966.
· Petrou S, et al. Economic evaluation alongside randomised controlled trials: Design, conduct, analysis, and reporting, BMJ 2011; 342:d1548.
· Gafni A, et al. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs): the silence of the lambda. Soc Sci Med. 2006; 62: 2091-100.
Module 3: Equity in health care
· Culyer A. Equity – some theory and its policy implications. J Med Ethics 2001; 27: 275-83.
· Cookson R, et al. Principles of justice in health care rationing. J Med Ethics 2000; 26: 323-9.
· Culyer A. The bogus conflict between efficiency and vertical equity. Health Econ 2006; 15: 1155-8.
· Norheim O, et al. Guidance on priority setting in health care (GPS-Health): The inclusion of equity criteria not captured by cost-effectiveness analysis. Cost Eff Resour Alloc 2014; 12:18.
Module 4: Health care provision and Health care financing
• Duckett SJ, Willcox S. The Australian Health Care System. 4th ed. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2011.
• Willis E, Reynolds L, Keleher H. Understanding the Australian health care system. 2nd ed. NSW: Churchill Livingstone; 2009.
· Eichler HG, et al. Use of cost-effectiveness analysis in health-care resource allocation decision-making: How are cost-effectiveness thresholds expected to emerge? Value Health 2004; 7: 518-528.
• Palmer G, Short S. Health care and public policy: An Australian analysis. 4th ed. Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan; 2010.
• McTaggart D, Findlay C, Parkin M. Microeconomics. 6th ed. Sydney: Pearson; 2010.
For an introduction to Australia's system of government, see:
• Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australia’s system of government. http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/sys_gov.html
• Australian Bureau of Statistics. Year book Australia 2012. (Cat No 1301.0) Canberra: ABS.See the chapter on Government.http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1301.0Main+Features152012
Online LearningMyUni is the primary entry point to online learning at The University of Adelaide. Students can connect to MyUni on or off campus from an internet connected computer using a Web browser. The URL is: https://myuni.adelaide.edu.au/.
Additional material for this course is available through MyUni. This includes the course timetable, practicals, and more information on learning support services available for students.
Pdf files of the lecture slides will be made available on MyUni usually on the day following the lecture. This timing gives the lecturer the flexibility to respond to student questions and comment as the session proceeds.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis course gives a high priority to interaction between the student and the academic staff, and amongst students.
The course will be presented as lectures supported by problem-solving practicals. Practical sessions will provide an opportunity to explore issues in greater depth. Practical classes will provide a problem-oriented investigation of some of the key course concepts and information. All students are encouraged to participate actively.
Students who are experiencing any form of difficulty in achieving the course objectives are encouraged to discuss this with the course coordinator as early as possible.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.Three hours of face-to-face teaching has been allocated for each of the 12 semester weeks, comprising a mix of lectures and practical sessions. In between these sessions, students will be expected to consolidate content knowledge via assignments.
To successfully complete their courses, students will need to allocate an appropriate time commitment to their study. In addition to the formal contact (i.e. lectures and practicals), students will need to allocate non-contact time. Non-contact time will be required for a range of activities which may include, but are not limited to, assessment tasks, reading, researching, note-taking, revision, writing, consultation with staff, and informal discussion with other students. As a guide, a full-time student would expect to spend, on average, a minimum of three independent study hours for every hour undertaken in formal class work contact.
Learning Activities Summary
Topic Lecture Fundamental issues in health economics What is health economics; Choice under Scarcity; Opportunity cost; Demand and supply analysis; and (case study: Medical workforce); Markets and efficiency Economic evaluation Introduction to economic evaluation; Cost measurement; Outcome measurement; Multi-attribute utility instruments (MAUIs); Choice of MAUIs Measuring and valuing health outcomes Introduction to Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs); Designing and testing a DCE; DCE for valuing health; Critical appraisal of economic evaluations Using economic evaluation in the decision-making process: Equity and efficiency Using economic evaluation in the decision-making process, sensitivity analysis, Frameworks for economic evaluation, Equity in health care The organisation of health care: Assignment Review Organisation of health care; health insurance, health care purchasing; Providing support with respect to the final assignment.
Specific Course RequirementsN/A
Small Group Discovery ExperienceThe practical sessions are undertaken in small groups, with close oversight from the lecturers to support discovery around the application of health economics key concepts and health economic evaluation.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed Short answer questions for economic evaluation Summative 20% 1, 3,4 Critical review of an economic evaluation Summative 40% 4,5 Discussion paper Summative 40% 1,2,6,7
Assessment Related RequirementsNone.
Assessment Detail(1) Short answer questions for economic evaluation (word limit: 250 words for each question) (20%)
This assessment task requires short answers to five questions relating to key concepts in health economics, and the identification and measurement of health care resources and health outcomes for economic evaluation. . This assignment will assess students’ understanding and skills to identify relevant health outcomes and resources in economic evaluation and to interpret key concepts in health economics.
(2) Critical review of an economic evaluation (Word limit: 1,500 words) (30%)
In this assessment students are expected to apply key steps they have learnt during this course to critically review a published economic evaluation. This assignment will assess student’s understanding and skills to critically appraise economic evaluations and to appropriately interpret their findings.
(3) Discussion paper (Word limit: 2,000 words) (50%)
Students are asked to choose one of the two topics focusing on the key concepts presented in this course with an emphasis on efficiency, equity, and the health system. The discussion paper must provide an in-depth analysis. This may include background to the topic and its significance, challenges associated with the issue, and some ideas to improve it within the health system. This assignment will assess students’ understanding and skills to apply analytic thinking to examine evidence on an important health economic topic.
All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission. Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.
Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.
Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the student’s situation. The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact on the student. Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.
Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.
All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2 days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.
The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.
Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.
Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.
If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process <https://www.adelaide.edu.au/student/grievance/process/>. Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
- Academic Support with Maths
- Academic Support with writing and speaking skills
- Student Life Counselling Support - Personal counselling for issues affecting study
- International Student Support
- AUU Student Care - Advocacy, confidential counselling, welfare support and advice
- Students with a Disability - Alternative academic arrangements
- Reasonable Adjustments to Teaching & Assessment for Students with a Disability Policy
- LinkedIn Learning
Policies & Guidelines
This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
- Academic Credit Arrangement Policy
- Academic Honesty Policy
- Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy
- Assessment for Coursework Programs
- Copyright Compliance Policy
- Coursework Academic Programs Policy
- Elder Conservatorium of Music Noise Management Plan
- Intellectual Property Policy
- IT Acceptable Use and Security Policy
- Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment
- Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Student Grievance Resolution Process
Students should apply a constructively critical analysis to any material they use in their assignments. Any assignment submitted for assessment at a university must contain the student’s own analysis in the student’s own words. A limited amount of direct quotation is acceptable, provided that it is enclosed in quotation marks, a reference is supplied and an analysis of its relevance is supplied in their own words.
Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty that amounts to theft or fraud. It is the unacknowledged use of the thoughts or writings of another person, as if they are one's own. This may occur as a result of deliberate misuse of another person's work, or through ignorance or inexperience about the correct way to acknowledge other work. Plagiarism includes presenting information or paraphrasing ideas from books, articles, etc. or other students' work, without clear identification of the source through proper use of referencing; and quoting directly from a source, without indicating that it is a direct quote.
This is considered an extremely serious matter, which may lead to failure of an assignment, or even suspension from University. We will spend some time in early lectures and tutorials dealing with issues relating to plagiarism.
Adelaide students – should read and understand The University of Adelaide’s Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy, a link to which can be found athttp://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/230/
Flinders students – see http://www.flinders.edu.au/ppmanual/student/assessment1.html
A very helpful resource, which addresses positive ways to write about what we have learned is:McGowan U, O’Regan K. Avoiding Plagiarism: Achieving Academic Writing. Centre for Learning and Professional Development, The University of Adelaide, 2008.
Adelaide students – should also read the guidelines produced by the Discipline of English and Creative Writing on using quotations, paraphrasing and avoiding plagiarism at http://www.hss.adelaide.edu.au/english/studentinfo/plagiarism/
Flinders students – see Study and Writing Guides at
and assessment policies at
Students must avoid the temptation to cut and paste large chunks from the literature even if they reference them. This is the academic equivalent of train spotting or stamp collecting, and does not necessarily involve any attempt to understand or to analyse the material selected. To meet the University’s Graduate Attributes (see section 2.2), students must do their own thinking about everything they write. Moreover, any passage that students quote verbatim from another author must be enclosed in quotation marks. It is not sufficient to provide the reference alone. Nor is it appropriate to attempt to get around this by lightly paraphrasing a passage from such an author even if students provide the reference.
Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.
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