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 Katherine Stevens is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research. She will be your lead educator and will be guiding you through the course.

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 and each week should take around three hours to complete.

Using FutureLearn

If this is your first FutureLearn course, you may find it useful to watch this ‘how it works’ video guide. Even if you’re an old hand, you may still like to read this FutureLearn blog post which explains all the recent changes to the in-course navigation. We also recommend reading six tips and tools for social learning on FutureLearn to get the most out of the interactive and social learning features of this course.

Have your say

In 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.

Quizzes and tests

At the end of each week, find out how much you’ve learnt by taking a test on the topics covered. There will also be an end of course test which covers the material from all three weeks. In Weeks 1 and 2 you’ll find quizzes. These are short multiple choice activities and will not count towards your overall course progress.


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 as we always make sure new terms are explained in each step the first time that they are introduced. To help you we have also produced a Useful Terminology Sheet which you can download from the bottom of the page and keep handy to refer to as you make your way through the course.


It is academic practice to make reference to any other person’s ideas, research or work used in your own writing. The articles, books, texts or websites that the educators have referenced in their articles or videos are included at the bottom of each step. You don’t have to access any of the referenced resources in order to fully participate in the course and you are under no obligation to read anything on the reference lists. However, you are welcome to use the reference list for further reading and may be able to gain access to these resources through your local library.

Unfortunately, many of these resources will not be available free of charge and we do not recommend that you purchase subscriptions in order to access them for this course. However, wherever referenced material is freely available through open access websites, we have provided links (although we cannot guarantee your access).

We have also included links to books that are available through Amazon; again, you are not required to purchase any books for this course but if you are searching for the titles these links may be helpful.

Optional further reading

These are articles or texts that are available for further reading if you are particularly interested in a subject and want to delve into it in more detail. These are not course requirements and it will not impact your studies if you don’t read them.

See also

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

Take our survey

In order to understand more about our learners, and so we can support you better, we have designed a very short survey to ‘get to know you’. We just need some basic information about you and where you are. If you have already completed this survey through the course notice email, thank you; please just mark this step as complete below and continue on to the next step. Complete the survey.

Evidence your learning

If you complete the majority of steps in the course and attempt every test question, you’ll be eligible to purchase a printed Statement of Participation, which provides a physical record of your engagement in the course. This eye-catching statement can be used as evidence of Continuing Professional Development, your commitment to your career, or your interest in the subject.

So, let’s get started!

(When you have watched the video above, please click ‘Mark as Complete’ below, and move on by pressing ‘Next’).

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Measuring and Valuing Health

The University of Sheffield