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Online course

Measuring and Valuing Health

Learn how Patient Reported Outcome Measures and Quality Adjusted Life Years can compare treatments and inform healthcare spending.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Measuring and Valuing Health

Why join the course?

Healthcare systems around the world are increasingly under pressure to fund drugs, treatments and other healthcare interventions. No-one has the money or resources to provide them all, so how do we decide which ones to fund?

One factor which can help inform these decisions is to compare the costs and benefits of treatments. Costs are fairly straightforward to calculate, but what about benefits? How do we know which treatments help patients most? And how do we measure and value these benefits?

Understand Patient Reported Outcome Measures and Quality Adjusted Life Years

This free online course will introduce you to health outcomes and explain how they can be measured and valued, to make more informed decisions about where to spend our limited healthcare budgets.

We’ll look at 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.

Learn and debate with specialists in health economics

Over 3 weeks, you’ll learn with Dr Katherine Stevens, Dr Clara Mukuria and other specialists from the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield.

You’ll also get to share your experiences and debate the key issues with other learners. Should it be patients or the general population who value our health? Or someone else? And should we value children’s health differently?

This course will help you understand how and why choices about drugs and treatments have been made. It may inspire you to think about a career in healthcare, local decision making or academia.

You may even wish to take your learning further, with the University of Sheffield’s Masters degrees and short courses in 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?

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 14 secondsThe world has limited resources. It has unmet needs and healthcare is no different.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsThere are millions of people around the world who require healthcare, and there are many different treatments and interventions available, but there is only a limited amount of money.

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 secondsSo what do we do? We have to make choices. We cannot fund all of them. I'm Dr Katherine Stevens, a senior research fellow in the Health Economics and Decision Science section at The University of Sheffield. On this course, we will 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.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsWe will look at Patient Reported Outcome Measures, or PROMs, how to develop them and how they can be used in practice. We will 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. We look in detail at how they're calculated, and how decision makers use the information.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsHow 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?

Skip to 1 minute and 29 secondsWe 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 54 secondsThrough this course, we 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 precious limited resources.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsMaybe you already use QALYs in your work. Maybe you are affected by the decisions that are made based on these. Or maybe you would like to simply understand more about them. The knowledge that you gain from this course may inspire you to think about a career in healthcare, local decision making, academia, or it may simply 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. So join us and find out how decision makers around the world are measuring and valuing your health.

What topics will you cover?

The course combines video, articles, exercises, discussion, and multiple choice quizzes and tests. The topics learners cover in this course include:

  • The challenges of defining and measuring ‘health’.
  • How patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are developed and implemented.
  • An introduction to the process of decision-making in healthcare, namely, economic evaluation, and the limitations of PROMs in measuring benefit.
  • What quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) are and how they are generated including describing health states and how they can be valued through methods such as Time Trade Off.
  • Utility measures and how they are used in calculating QALYs.
  • Where QALYs are used in decision-making around the world.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • 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 is an introductory course and anyone can enjoy it without expertise or prior knowledge of the subject. A basic knowledge of science will be helpful.

Who will you learn with?

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

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

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £69.00

Statement of Participation £39.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.