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The University of Southampton

MEDI6233 Health Economics for Public Health

Module Overview

The increasing demand for health, but limited resources available to meet the needs of an aging population (with higher levels of chronic disease), makes health economics an important aspect of everyday life as choices must be made as to what health programmes can be provided and how they should be provided. Health economics is relevant to many sectors (e.g. health services, public health, medicine, pharmaceutical and health technology industry), which makes this module of direct interest to the postgraduate programmes in Public Health and Global Health. This module introduces economics and important fundamental economic concepts; considers health care as a commodity; and looks at different types of health care systems that include issues around health behaviour. The module also reviews the methodology in conducting economic evaluation and how these are used to influence decision making.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Illustrate the concepts behind health economic analysis and decision making.
  • Explain the basic premise under which allocation decisions in the public/global health field are taken.
  • Explain the structure and functioning of health care markets.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of government intervention in health care.
  • Apply a global perspective to understanding the resource implications and economic efficiency of health care systems
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate health economic evaluations and information.


• Principles of health economics including: the notions of scarcity, supply and demand, distinctions between need and demand, opportunity cost, discounting, time horizons, margins, efficiency and equity. • Demand for health: determinants of demand, elasticity, demand for health care and demand for health; empirical demand functions. • Market failures: insurance, moral hazard, selection and causality. • Systems of health and social care financing and the role of incentives to achieve desired end-points. • Techniques of economic appraisal including marginal analysis, option appraisal, cost-effectiveness cost-utility/ cost-benefit analysis, decision analysis and modelling, the measurement of health benefits in terms of QALYs and related measures, e.g. DALYs. • The role of economic evaluation and priority setting in health care decision making including the cost effectiveness of Public Health and Public Health interventions and involvement.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will consist of lectures with theoretical analysis and real-world examples and applications to improve students' learning and analytical skills. In-class group discussions of research papers will facilitate deeper understanding and encourage critical thinking.

Guided independent study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Introduction To Health Economics.

Other. You will access to relevant study materials including lecture slides, selected reading and assignment details/electronic submission via Blackboard.


Assessment Strategy

The assessment includes both a formative and a summative element. The former is a multiple choice question examination and the latter an individual written assignment related to health care systems. You must pass the MCQ quiz by achieving a pass mark of 70% or above. If you fail the MCQ quiz you are allowed to take it again until you pass. The pass mark for the written assignment and module is 50%. If you have failed the module, you will have the opportunity to submit work at the next referral (re-sit) opportunity. On passing your referral, your final module mark will be capped at 50%.


Multiple choice question


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay/report  (1500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay/report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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