Learn to think like a health economist to understand the mechanisms of the market and the challenges to the healthcare system.

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

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Explore the theory of health economics

Health economics examines the challenges of allocating health resources under conditions of scarcity. It is used to study health systems worldwide to help us gain an understanding of what affects decision-making in healthcare.

On this three-week course, you’ll explore key concepts of health economics including health, utility costs, and opportunity costs to understand how different factors affect decisions.

Through the examination of a trade-off activity, you’ll also discover the sorts of problems encountered when it comes to the allocation of scarce resources in healthcare.

Gain an introduction to the economic principles behind health technology assessment

Health technology assessment (HTA) is an essential tool for decision-making. On the course, you’ll explore HTA from an economic perspective.

This will give you a solid introduction before going on to explore what HTA is and the main pillars of universal health coverage (UHC), and how the two interlink.

Define the characteristics of the healthcare market

Delving into the healthcare market, you’ll explore how the decisions made here are different from other markets.

Examining demand, insurance, equity, inequality, and types of health systems, you’ll understand how the healthcare market operates, the numerous factors that need to be considered in decision-making, and how they interlink with HTA.

Explore the Health Minister’s Dilemma

You’ll apply the learning you have gained to a case study called “The Health Minister’s Dilemma”. You’ll look at specific treatments and drugs to demonstrate the application of HTA including malaria, arthritis, HIV prevention, and improving quality of life.

This knowledge will help you start thinking about the challenges healthcare systems face before exploring ways we can address them.


  • Week 1

    Health Technology Assessment from an economics perspective

    • Health Technology Assessment from an economics perspective

      This week will introduce Health Technology Assessment from an economist's perspective. We explore the economic principles behind HTA, and how HTA can support the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage.

  • Week 2

    The Healthcare Market and health systems

    • The healthcare market and health systems

      This week we will see how the healthcare market is different from the market for other goods and services. We also look at different types of health system financing.

  • Week 3

    The Tanzanian Health Minister's Dilemma

    • The Tanzanian health minister's dilemma

      This week we will explore more closely what is meant by quality of life and quality of life measurement. You will then play a game set in Tanzania.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of scarcity and resources in decision-making
  • Identify characteristics that make the healthcare market different from markets for general goods
  • Explain key health economic concepts
  • Discuss the main pillars of Universal Health Coverage

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone in healthcare who would like to gain an understanding of the role of health technology assessment.

It will be particularly useful for researchers, decision-makers, and healthcare professionals as well as those working in pharmaceutical industries and HTA agencies.

Who will you learn with?

I'm a Health Economist at HEHTA, UoGlasgow. My work involves undertaking economic evaluations alongside clinical trials, decision-analytic modelling, analysing linked health data & evidence synthesis.

Houra is a Research Associate at the University of Glasgow. She works on evaluating public health interventions applying econometric modelling especially time series analyses.

Eleanor's research interests include economic evaluation of public health and complex interventions, both trial-based and using decision analytic modelling. She leads HEHTA’s Global HTA research theme

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

About this ExpertTrack

Explore the key concepts of health economics and how health technology assessment aids decision-making in healthcare.

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