HP4C5E      Half Unit
Using Health Economics to Analyse and Inform Policy and Practice

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Andrew Street COW 1.02


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The health care sector is extremely complex, and this gives rise to concerns about how the health system should be organised, how incentives should be designed, and how performance should be evaluated. The objective of the course is to give students an introduction to how health systems are constructed, and how the various parts of the system interact; the role of regulation, resource allocation, payment arrangements, and performance measurement; the complexities of evaluating policy and performance; and the contribution that health economics can make to the evaluation and development of health policy. Participants are introduced to variety of econometric methods as the course progresses.


This course will be delivered as a combination of lectures and seminars. The course will be delivered over a minimum total of 25 hours. 

Formative coursework

Formative assessment (up to 1000 words), is an outline of the summative assessment essay question. This will give students an opportunity to develop their thoughts ahead of the summative assessment, and will allow for feedback from course teachers that will guide students when they work on their longer summative essay

Indicative reading

Bridgewater B, Hickey GL, Cooper G, Deanfield J, Roxburgh J. Publishing cardiac surgery mortality rates: lessons for other specialties BMJ 2013; 346 :f1139.

Smith, P.C. and Street, A.D. (2013), On the Uses of Routine Patient Reported Health Outcome Data. Health Econ., 22: 119-131.

Busse, R, et al (2013), Diagnosis Related Groups in Europe: Moving Towards Transparency, Efficiency, and Quality in Hospitals? British Medical Journal, vol 346, f3197, pp. f3197. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f3197.

Gaughan, J., Kobel, C. Coronary artery bypass grafts and diagnosis related groups: patient classification and hospital reimbursement in 10 European countries. Health Econ Rev 4, 4 (2014).

Collins R, Bowman L, Landray M, Peto R. The magic of randomization versus the myth of real-world evidence. N Engl J Med 2020;382:674-678.

Califf RM, Hernandez AF, Landray M. Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Proliferating Observational Treatment Assessments: Observational Cacophony, Randomized Harmony. JAMA. 2020;324(7):625–626. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.13319


Essay (80%, 4500 words) and continuous assessment (20%) in the LT.

The course will be assessed on the basis of:

1. Four brief multiple choice assessments (5% each, total weight 20%).

2. A 4,500-word summative essay on a specific topic. In writing this essay, students will be able to demonstrate and synthesise what they have learned from the lectures, reading material, seminars, group discussions and their own independent research and thinking.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 36.2
Merit 26.7
Pass 31.4
Fail 5.7

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills