Basic knowledge of Economics and Health economics
Research in the field of health economics has led to significant insights and changes in the way society promotes and maintains health of populations, organizes the provision of health care, and finances health care services. The health sector, however, remains a very complex and important priority for policy due to rapid increases in expenditures on healthcare and pressures to improve productivity and quality of care. The sector is also highly regulated, with mixed public and private sector organisations delivering and financing healthcare services. The course provides important insights into how economics influences the health of populations, the financing and organisation of health care, the cost and quality of health care delivery around the world, and tools and methods to perform economic evaluations of technologies and health care programs
Health Economics and Policy contributes to the learning objectives of the economics and management area of the degree course. The main goal of the course is to introduce students to the field of health economics and policy decisions by providing a broad overview of some of the topics and fields of research, with particular attention to long term care and the management of chronic diseases. At the end of the course, students will be able to apply microeconomic tools supported by robust empirical evidence to understanding the economics of health behaviours and the organisation of health care markets. More specifically, students will learn how the research in health economics has assisted our understanding of policy options in the health care industry and, in particular, health care programs and different intervention strategies for patients in long term care and with chronic conditions.
We first focus on concepts such as the demand for health and health care, health insurance, competition in health care markets, influence of payment systems on health care provider behaviour, and the economics of the pharmaceutical sector.
We will also focus on how the research in health economics has assisted our understanding of policy options in the health care industry. During the course, we will also discuss several important health and health care challenges for low- and middle-income countries and how they shape current policy approaches in Global Health. Finally, the analysis of intervention policies will be applied to specific health problems needing integrated and long term care, for instance in the context of mental health, diabetes, chronic and cardiovascular diseases.
The course will consist of a mixture of lectures on specific topics, supported by relevant case studies and practical exercises with opportunities for students' active participation and discussion. Practical sessions are organized weekly for attending students to facilitate the analysis of case studies and assignments.
The course will be evaluated by one group work analysis and presentation of a project by the end of the semester and a final written exam. Distribution of grades is as follows:
one group work assignment involving the analysis and presentation of a written project: 40% of final grade; attendance at course lectures and active participation in classes: 10% of final grade; final written exam: 50% of final grade.
Not-attending students must prepare the final written exam using the material available on the course site and the chapters of the main textbooks. The analysis and the draft of the project should be performed individually and following the information available on the course website at the end of the semester, and handed in before the final exam session.