Research Areas

The major research areas within the Centre cover health policy and health economics with substantial overlap between these areas. The Centre emphasises a multidisciplinary approach to its work. LSE Health staff also collaborate with a number of other research centres and individuals in the UK and elsewhere. Currently there are major collaborations within the UK with, amongst others, various colleges of the University of London (including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UCL, and King's College), and the Universities of Cambridge, and York. On an International level, major collaborations with Stanford University and relationships with numerous European partners have been established.

Health Policy

This substantial research area is broadly defined and has both UK and international perspectives. While there is considerable overlap between analyses at national and international levels, the Centre has maintained its high reputation for feeding research into the policy arena. For example, within the UK, LSE was a contributor to the government-commissioned Wanless Review which undertook an in-depth look at the UK health expenditure requirements. There is also a long standing interest in health equity issues and this work is ongoing. Many LSE Health staff work on comparative aspects of health policy, particularly across Europe, reflecting the goals of the European Observatory's work. In line with the Centre's aim, the work on health policy has always maintained high standards of academic rigour while addressing issues of major policy concerns. Current specific areas of interest include:

Comparative health policy: This major research area has produced a number of outputs comparing, on both descriptive and analytical levels, various health care sectors. Work has been undertaken on health sector reforms across Europe, with a particular focus on the European Union's influence regarding the organisation, financing and delivery of health care.

UK health care financing and equity: A long-term programme of research documents recent funding issues in the UK and analyses the conceptual arguments for and empirical evidence on the role of patient choice, incentives and comptetition in the NHS. Work has concentrated on the issues dominating NHS choice and competition debates over recent years. The impact of equity as a policy objective is also considered, as is the impact of medical R&D on health outcomes.

Health policy relating to the pharmaceutical industry:  Given the specific pharmaceutical regulatory regimes in a number of countries, this research area deals with both comparative and EU-specific issues.

Health economics

This research area covers methodological and applied topics. Staff are engaged in both theoretical and applied work over a range of areas. The aim is to maintain methodological advances while applying high quality research to specific areas. Current areas of interest include:

Economic evaluation in health care: A number of individual programmes contribute to this area. At a conceptual level, specific statistical approaches in economic evaluations, conducted alongside clinical trials, account for censored and missing data. Econometric modelling of trial data is a further interest. Individual projects have considered the methodological base of economic evaluation. Work is also proceeding on the relationship between expected utility theory and economic evaluation. On the applied side, work continues to assess the impact of regulatory bodies, such as NICE, on the application of economic evaluation. To date, various individual health care technologies have been evaluated.

Pharmaceutical economics: An ongoing research programme is concerned with the regulation of the pharmaceutical sector. In particular, the impact of regulation on pricing policies has been considered in a range of markets. This has been complemented by an analysis of how branded and generic pharmaceutical products interact. LSE Health’s Medical Technology Research Group focuses specifically on interdisciplinary and comparative policy research on medical technologies. The group aims to produce high quality research and to provide education, training, policy support and advice to key stakeholders, including governments and international organisations. LSE Health has also been involved in the economic evaluation of a number of large clinical trials, the most recent being the UK cancer trial in ovarian cancer screening (UKCTOCS) and developing healthy minds in teenagers.

Health care technology diffusion: Work continues to account for the variation in health technology up-take across different countries. A particular focus is on the area of coronary heart disease, part of the TECH project co-ordinated by Stanford University.

The economics of the hospital sector: Work in this area concerns the econometric specification of hospital cost functions and investigates optimal reimbursement contracts.

Health care workforce concerns: Work continues on the issues around the labour supply to the social care sector and on the nursing labour market.

Demography and health

Demography is the study of human populations, past, present and future. This science tracks how births, deaths, and migration determine change and therefore demonstrates key trends such as rapid population growth and population ageing. Research among the Population Group at LSE includes mortality forecasting, micro simulation, the demography of the Balkans, reproductive and sexual health in Southern, Central and East Africa and Asia, the effects of childhood experiences on later outcomes in Britain and the evolutionary analysis of West African populations.

7th Framework Programme Projects

LSE Health coordinates the ECAB (Evaluating Care Across Borders) research project and Health Inc. (Financing Health Care for Inclusion), funded by the European Commission under its 7th Framework Programme.