HEALTH ECONOMICS AND POLICY | Università degli studi di Bergamo


Modulo Generico
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Insegnamento (nome in italiano): 
Insegnamento (nome in inglese): 
Health economics and policy
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Attività formativa Affine/Integrativa
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Didattica Convenzionale
Primo Semestre
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Attività formative affini o integrative
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Basic knowledge of Economics and Health economics

Educational goals

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.

Course content

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.

Textbooks and reading lists

Reading material will consist of published articles from economic journals and health economic field journals. But will also include wider literature from health policy, health services research and medical journals.
Case studies from various sources will be provided with supplementary reading to support the analysis of the case.
For the articles and case studies, see the Content and Reading List as well as lecture folders to be posted in Moodle.

The main textbooks are:

Phelps CE. Health Economics (4th Editions). Boston: Addison Wesley, 2012

Getzen TE. Health Economics and Financing (4th Edition): Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Feldstein PJ. Health Care Economics (7th Edition): New York: Thomson Delmar Learning, 2005.

Folland S, Goodman AC, Stano M, The Economics of Health and Health Care (8th edition): Routledge, 2017.

Teaching methods

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.

Assessment and Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by one group work analysis and presentation of case studies, another course group project to be completed by the end of the semester and a final written exam. Distribution of grades is as follows:
2 separate group work assignments involving the analysis and presentation of a case study and a written project: 2 x 25% (50% of final grade); class participation during the presentation and discussion of all the case studies and attendance at course lectures: 10% of final grade (attendance, involvement and contribution to discussion); final written exam: 40% of final grade.

Further information

Not-attending students must prepare the final written exam using the articles available in Moodle and the chapters of the main textbooks. The analysis of the case study and the written project should be performed using the material available on the course website and handed in before the final exam session.