SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMB725622
Module Leader Sarkis Manoukian
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Nursing
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

This module on health economics is designed to provide students with the analytical tools to understand, from an economic perspective: the nature of health care systems internationally; how to assess health care reforms and specific health intervention programmes; and frameworks of health determinants. The module is divided into three main parts. First, we outline the basic economics of health care systems, addressing issues such as the degree to which health care can be provided via market mechanisms, and, if not, what this means for health care reforms globally. In doing so we will compare health care systems and discuss equity issues associated with different health care systems. Secondly, we consider the evaluation of health care; looking at the main types of economic evaluation (cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-benefit analysis and cost-utility analysis), and how do we measure health (and other benefits) arising from specific interventions? Third, we examine how the economic frameworks for evaluation are challenged by the need to evaluate public health initiatives aimed at addressing health determinants and broader aspects of wellbeing. The module will be delivered via a combination of group work, lectures and seminars.


1. Why is it important to study health from an economic perspective? 2. Markets and market failure in health care 3. Incentives in health care, health care reform and new forms of health care delivery 4. Equity in health care from an economic perspective 5. Principles and frameworks of health economic evaluation 6. Case studies in economic evaluation 7. Measuring and valuing the benefits of health services 8. Equity and social values 9. Evaluating complex, community-based initiatives: case study and challenges 10. Using economic principles in practice: setting priorities in health care

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should:1.Show an understanding of basic economic concepts and how these can be used in public health and health care settings 2. Show an understanding of the role of incentives in health care, health care reform and health care delivery 3. Be able to define, critique and apply concepts of economic evaluation used to appraise health and health care interventions 4. Be able to assess the challenges faced when using appraisal methods taking into account broader public health and more complex methods aimed at health and wellbeing determinants 5. Be able to define, critique and apply concepts of equity (in health care and health) from an economic perspective 6. Be able to outline how economics approaches to priority setting can be used in health care planning.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Students will be encouraged to work in a self-directed manner, taking responsibility for their own learning, personal development and practice competence. Academic components, which will be delivered via lectures and seminars and supported with on-line materials via GCU learn, will provide an overview of topics and themes of relevance to the module. Academic guidance will be provided on an individual and/or group basis. This module consists of group work, lectures and directed learning. The group work will take a contemporary health economics issue (e.g. asking whether health care systems would be better off with no government interference), the outcomes of which would then be addressed in a related lecture. The programme will be research-led and will reflect and enhance contemporary scholarship. A strong emphasis will be placed on students taking responsibility for participation, for their own learning and for the dissemination of knowledge to other students within the seminar setting. However, independent student learning will be supported electronically through the use of GCU Learn. Assessment for the course is continuous and will involve two assessments (an essay and an open book exam).

Indicative Reading

Chapters 1-4 of Donaldson C (2011) Credit Crunch Health Care: How Economics Can Save Our Publicly-Funded Health Care Systems. Bristol, Policy Press Donaldson C and Gerard K (2005, 2nd edition) Economics of Health Care Financing: The Visible Hand. London, Palgrave Macmillan Auld C et al (2004) Health Economics and Public Health. Oxford Textbook of Public Health Drummond MF, Sculpher M, Torrance GW, O'Brien B, Stoddart GL (2005, 3rd edn) Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Weinstein, M., Torrance, G. and McGuire, A. (2009). QALYs: The basics. Value in Health 12(Supplement), S5-S9. Donaldson C, Mason H, Shackley P (2012) Contingent Valuation in Health Care in Jones A (eds) The Elgar Companion to Health Economics. Second Edition. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham Menzel P, Gold MR, Nord E, Pinto-Prades JL, Richardson J, Ubel P. Toward a broader view of values in cost-effectiveness analysis of health. Hastings Cent Rep 1999;29(3):7-15 Chapters 2, 4 and 5 of Mitton, C. Donaldson, C. Priority setting toolkit: A guide to the use of economics in healthcare decision making. London, BMJ Books

Transferrable Skills

In undertaking this module the students will develop and consolidate skills in the following areas: health economics theory and practice, Government and public health issues, analysis, critical appraisal, communication, accessing information sources, C&IT utilisation of equipment, independent study, time management, reasoning and reflection skills, teamwork, professional confidence, decision making and how to disseminate information.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning 80 Directed Learning 15 95.00
Tutorials 7.00
Lectures 18.00
Assessment 30.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Essay n/a 40.00 n/a Essay - 2000 words
Open book exam at home n/a 60.00 n/a Open Book exam at home, mix of short answer questions and calculations