PUB HLTH 7081OL - Health Economics

Online - Semester 2 - 2015

Health economics is the study of how scarce healthcare resources are allocated among competing interventions and among groups in society. This fully online 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 three major strands: (1) An introduction to key concepts of health economics (e.g. opportunity costs) and how better choices in resource allocation might be made. There will be an introduction to 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 measuring and valuing health outcomes and the use of economic evaluation in health care decision making. (3) 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. There will also be a reflection on equity in healthcare and the relationship between equity and efficiency in priority setting.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 7081OL
    Course Health Economics
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Online
    Units 3
    Contact Online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Course Description Health economics is the study of how scarce healthcare resources are allocated among competing interventions and among groups in society. This fully online 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 three major strands:
    (1) An introduction to key concepts of health economics (e.g. opportunity costs) and how better choices in resource allocation might be made. There will be an introduction to 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 measuring and valuing health outcomes and the use of economic evaluation in health care decision making.
    (3) 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.

    There will also be a reflection on equity in healthcare and the relationship between equity and efficiency in priority setting.
    Course Staff
    Course Coordinator: Dr Hossein Afzali
    Phone: +61 8313 0615
    Email: hossein.hajialiafzali@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace

    Learning & Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8313 2128
    Email: postgrad_enq@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon 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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. N/A
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2-7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 5-7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. N/A
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. N/A
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. N/A
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. N/A
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No 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, MuUni and from official and semi-official reports appearing on the World Wide Web. A few photocopied readings will also be made available.
    Recommended Resources
    N/A
    Online Learning
    N/A
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course gives a high priority to interaction between the student and the academic staff, and amongst students. There are a number of teaching and learning modes in this course. The online course lectures provide information on key concepts in health  economics and economic evaluation of health care interventions. Lectures are intended to cover material in the study guides and    readings and will be supported by problem-solving practicals and multiple choice questions. Theses practicals and questions are designed to develop and clarify topics covered in the readings and lectures. Students are required to complete as many questions as  possible prior to the Blackboard Collaborate data when students and the course coordinator interact through audio and text.  Students will also be able to post questions and answers to a discussion board. Monitored by the course coordinator, students will be
    encouraged to answer each other’s questions. Assignments provide an opportunity to undertake exploratory and in-depth analysis of some key concepts introduced in the course.   
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Refer to MyUni and course coordinator
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic Lecture
    Week 1 Fundamental issues in health economics What is health economics; Choice under  Scarcity; Opportunity  cost; Demand and supply; (case study: Medical workforce); Markets and efficiency
    Week 2 Economic Evaluation Introduction to economic evaluation; Cost measurement; Outcome measurement; Multi-attribute utility instruments (MAUIs);  Choice of MAUIs;
    Week 3 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
    Week 4 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
    Week 5 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 Requirements
    N/A
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    N/A
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning course objective(s) being addressed
    (1) A one-page paper

    Summative 10% 1,2
    (2) Short answers for economic evaluation Summative 10% 3,4
    (3) Critical review of an economic
    evaluation
    Summative 40% 4,5
    (4) Discussion paper Summative 40% 1,2,6,7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance at all sessions is required, and is a prerequisite for passing this course. An attendance sheet will be completed each day. The reason for any absence should be made known to the course co-ordinator, who may require remedial work. In practicals it is  expected that all students should participate actively in the discussion.
    Assessment Detail
    All assignments will be posted on MyUni at least 2 weeks prior to the date of submission.
            
    (1) A ONE-PAGE PAPER
    The first assessment task involves a constructively critical review of the main argument(s) in the selected paper. Students are  expected to develop their own reasoned argument in their own words within a single page.

    It is recommended that the paper begins by establishing the structure of the argument, with key concepts being more important  than details. Next might come a critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of this argument, with comments from students  where appropriate on the logic, on the use of evidence, and on how the argument may have been shaped by the author(s) own  values. Any criticism should be constructive and not mere nitpicking. Finally, students should explore the implications for the health  of the public, such as how this paper changes our thinking about the issue and what should we do about its findings in order to  improve population health. Students might use the three headings: summary of reviewed paper, critical analysis, and implications, but this is not a requirement. Critical reasoning requires that students deal with arguments and counter-arguments.

    The paper should be confined to one A4 page, single-spaced, and in 12 point pitch. Assignments that are over a page will drop a  grade. Standard English rather than brief notes or dot points should be used. The paper should be in the student's own words,  with quotation and paraphrasing strictly limited and properly referenced in the Vancouver style. References may be placed on a
    second page.

    (2) SHORT ANSWERS FOR ECONOMIC EVALUATION
    This assessment task requires short answers to 4 questions relating to the identification and measurement of health care  resources and health outcomes for economic evaluation. The answer to each question should be confined to one paragraph (a  maximum of 150 words).
     

    (3) CRITICAL REVIEW OF AN ECONOMIC EVALUATION (Word limit: 1,500 words, excluding references)
    In this assessment students are expected to apply key steps they have learnt to critically review a published economic evaluation.  Students will answer a number of questions, which will be discussed during this course. 

    (4) DISCUSSION PAPER (Word limit: 1,500 words, excluding refrences)
    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 Includes background to the  topic and its significance, challenges associated with the issue, and some ideas to improve it within the health system.
    Submission
    All assignments will be submitted online via MyUni

    Late submission

    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    The procedure is as follows:
     
    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits.

    In the case of late assignments, marks will then be deducted from the mark awarded, at the rate of 5 percentage points of the  total possible per day. For example, if an assignment which 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 its mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45% etc.

    The Course Cooordinator reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Extensions

    Must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.

    Will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds.
     
    Only the course coordinator, or a person authorised by him, may grant extensions.

    Documentary supporting evidence such as a medical certificate or a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household  theft etc.) will usually be required when requesting an extension.
     
    Documentary evidence will be required to support any claim of sickness.

    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 finalised “in time for graduation” or “in time to meet usual  University deadlines.
    Course Grading

    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.

  • Student Feedback

    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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Plagiarism
    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.
    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/myuni/onlinelearning/learningmodules/avoidingPlagiarism/player.html

    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
    http://www.flinders.edu.au/current-students/slc/study-guides/study-and-writing-guides.cfm
    and assessment policies at 
    http://www.flinders.edu.au/ppmanual/student/assessment2.html

    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.
  • Fraud Awareness

    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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.