• The University of Sheffield

Measuring and Valuing Health

Learn how patient-reported outcome measures and quality-adjusted life years can compare treatments and inform health spending.

Measuring and Valuing Health
  • Duration3 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $79Find out more

Explore how and why we decide what drugs and treatments should be funded

Healthcare systems around the world are increasingly under pressure to fund new drugs, treatments and other healthcare interventions.

On this course, you’ll learn how health outcome measuring can help us to make more informed decisions about where to spend our limited healthcare budgets.

You’ll find out how patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) are developed and calculated, and learn how they can be used to compare treatment benefits in practice.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsThe world has limited resources. It has unmet needs and healthcare is no different. There are millions of people around the world who require healthcare. There are many different treatments and interventions available, but there is only a limited amount of money.

Skip to 0 minutes and 28 secondsSo what do we do? We have to make choices. We can't fund all of them. I'm Dr. Clara Mukuria a Research Fellow in the Health Economics and Decision Science section at The University of Sheffield. On this course, we'll take you on a journey to understand how we can measure and value health. By doing this we can compare the benefits of drugs and treatments in healthcare, to help us make these difficult choices. We'll look at Patient Reported Outcome Measures, or PROMs, how to develop them and how they can be used in practice. We'll learn about Quality Adjusted Life Years, or QALYs, which are used around the world by decision makers to compare the benefits of different treatment options.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 secondsWe'll look in detail at how they are calculated and how decision makers use the information. How can we compare the costs and benefits of treatments? How do we know which treatments give benefit? How do we measure this benefit? And importantly, how do we value this benefit? We will invite you to join us in debating some of the key issues. For example, should it be patients or the general population who value our health, or someone else? And should we value children's health differently? We live in a world where new drugs and treatments are being rapidly developed. The population is increasing, with people living for longer and demand is soaring. And so these choices are increasingly necessary.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 secondsThrough this course, we'll help you understand why and how we need to measure and value health outcomes in order to make more informed decisions about how to spend our limited resources. Maybe you already use QALYs in your work, maybe you're affected by the decisions that are made based on these, or maybe you would simply like to understand more about them. The knowledge that you gain from this course may inspire you to think about a career in health healthcare, local decision-making, academia, or it may give you the knowledge to understand how and why choices about drugs and treatments have been made. Or you may wish to study further with us, as this is only part of the story.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 secondsSo join us and find out how decision makers around the world are measuring and valuing your health.

What topics will you cover?

The course focuses on two different types of measures, asking how they’re developed and calculated, and how they’re used by decision makers in practice:

  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs): which are measures completed by the patients themselves, about their health, symptoms, functioning, well-being or satisfaction with treatment.

  • Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs): which compare the benefits of different treatment options, based on the quality and quantity of life they yield.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

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

  • Discuss what health means and how to measure its impact on quality of life.
  • Evaluate how to develop and use patient reported outcome measures including their limitations in decision-making.
  • Calculate QALYs in simple examples to arrive at values which can be used to compare treatment benefits.
  • Perform a time trade off to develop an understanding of how this method can be used to value health states and generate preference weights.
  • Debate who should value our health. Should it be patients, health professionals or the general public and should this be different for children’s health?
  • Compare where QALYs are used in healthcare decision-making worldwide and discuss the merits of this method compared to those used where you live.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in how and why choices about drugs and treatments have been made.

It is ideal learning for anyone considering a career in healthcare, local decision-making or academia.

If you wish to take your learning further, the University of Sheffield’s other Masters degrees and short courses address areas such as health economics, public health and international healthcare technology assessment.

You can find out more about this subject in Dr Katherine Stevens’ post for the FutureLearn blog: “How do we make decisions in healthcare about which drugs and treatments to fund?.

What do people say about this course?

Thank you for a very well structured and presented course. The interactive elements (trying out the measures and voting) helped me think and engage more. This is a great introduction to a complex subject and has motivated me to find out more.

Gill Charman

A really good course, covering a complex and vital subject succinctly in just 3 weeks. The wide range of methods, materials and comments from participants was a most unexpected and valuable benefit.

Tim Benson
Developer of R-Outcomes family of short, generic PROMs and PREMs for patients, staff & carers.

Who will you learn with?

Clara Mukuria

Clara Mukuria

I am a Health Economist at ScHARR in the University of Sheffield. My research interests are in measuring and valuing health related quality of life and well-being.

Katherine Stevens

Katherine Stevens

I am a Health Economist working in ScHARR at The University of Sheffield. My research interest is measuring and valuing children's health related quality of life.

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.

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