Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsWelcome to Measuring and Valuing Health from the University of Sheffield. I'm Dr. Katherine Stevens, and I'll be your lead educator on this course. Over the next three weeks, we will take you on a journey to understand the measuring and valuing of health benefits. We will see why it matters, how we can measure health benefits, and how we can value them to help us make more informed decisions about where to spend the limited resources we have in our healthcare budgets. Healthcare systems around the world are increasingly under pressure to fund drugs, treatments, and other healthcare interventions. But no one has the money or resources to be able to provide them all.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsIn the UK, the healthcare budget for the year 2012 to 2013 was £100 billion. This budget covers everything from routine screening of babies and maternity care to treatment for long-term conditions, emergency care at A and E [Accident and Emergency], stays in hospital, drugs, physiotherapy, and end of life care. We can't fund everything, so decisions have to be made about where to spend our limited resources. And in a world where new drugs and treatments are rapidly being developed, and demand for health care is soaring, these decisions are increasingly necessary. So how do decision makers decide which healthcare interventions to fund? One factor that can inform these decisions is to look at cost-effectiveness.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsThis means that both the costs and the benefits of a treatment are considered.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsCosts are fairly straightforward to calculate, but what about the benefits? How do we know which treatments give benefit? How do we measure this benefit? And, importantly, how can we value this benefit? In the first week of the course, we would like to hear from you. What is your background and experience? Where are you from? Do you already have experience in healthcare and valuing patient outcomes?

Skip to 1 minute and 59 secondsOur topic in this first week is health and health related quality of life. What is it, and why might we want to measure it? We invite you to give your views and discuss what you think should be included in a measure of health related quality of life. We then go on to look in detail about how to develop a Patient Reported Outcome Measure --or PROM for short-- which can help medical practitioners to gather information about a specific condition or healthcare intervention from the patient's perspective. We'll consider different methods, including working with patients in focus groups and interviews, and reviewing the literature to see what research already exists and what this says. We will hear from patients, academics, and clinicians.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 secondsFinally this week, we will see an example of a Patient Reported Outcome Measure being applied in practice in a clinical setting. We hope you enjoy this first week, and we look forward to hearing your views in the discussions.

Welcome from Dr Katherine Stevens

Over the next three weeks we’ll be taking you on a journey to understand the measuring and valuing of health benefits. We’ll see why it matters, how we can measure health benefits and how we can value them to help us to make more informed decisions about healthcare spending.

Dr Clara Mukuria is a Health Economist at the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research. Alongside Dr Katherine Stevens, Clara will be one of your lead educators on this course, guiding you through the course materials.

Learning with FutureLearn

Each week there are a number of activities that are broken into steps. A step could be a video, an article, a quiz or a discussion. There will also be other optional tasks and exercises you can try to enhance your learning. Each week builds on the last, so we strongly recommend you work through each week in order. Each week should take around three hours to complete.

If this is your first FutureLearn course, check out the SEE ALSO section at the bottom of this page for some tips on how to get the most out of the course.

Have your say

Throughout this course you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get involved and have your say. We’ve created online exercises that will give you first hand experience of some of the tools and techniques used in measuring and valuing health, and included polls where you can vote on some of the big issues.

You’ll be able to make comments at any point in the course and we’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts. You’ll also notice that there are discussion steps which offer a more structured dialogue with your fellow learners on key topics. Each week we’ll be keeping an eye on your comments and will be dipping in where we can to guide you in the right direction. We’ll also send you an email at the beginning and end of each week with some key information and a summary of the weekly activity.


You may already have seen from your ‘To do’ list that, like much of healthcare, this course has some specialist terminology and more than a few acronyms which you probably won’t be familiar with. Please don’t let this put you off. We always make sure new terms are explained in each step the first time they are introduced and we have produced a Glossary of terms step which you can access at any time. You can also download this glossary to keep for your reference.

See also

You’ll find links to any related materials on the web under ‘See Also’ at the bottom of each step.

Complete your profile

By filling in your profile details, you will help us to understand our learners better. Information such as your educational level and employment area really helps us when it comes to evaluating the course and guides us in making improvements for future runs. You can complete your profile by visiting the more about you page.

So, let’s get started!

When you have watched the video above, please click Mark as Complete below, and move on to the next step.

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This video is from the free online course:

Measuring and Valuing Health

The University of Sheffield

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Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: