MSc Occupational Medicine / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Economic Evaluation in Healthcare

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH60092
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The demand for healthcare is rising for many reasons, and mostly outstrips supply. This means hard choices have to be made about how to distribute resources in health care. Economic evaluation provides information to support decision makers in allocating resources to improve efficiency. The course unit benefits anyone with an interest in planning or managing health services or involved in health services research.

This is an interactive online course. Students must work through the online course material. Students are encouraged to use the Blackboard discussion boards to ask questions and check their understanding of the course material


PLEASE NOTE: This unit was formerly called Health Economics (POPH60091/2). Therefore students who have already completed Health Economics should not select this unit.


To enable participants to: understand the principles of health economics, structure an economic evaluation and appraise and apply economic evaluation evidence to decision-making in practice.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

  • Describe key health economic concepts
  • Appraise the need for and relevance of economic evaluation in health care
  • Explain the key principles, components and design choices of economic evaluations
  • Apply guidelines to published economic evaluations and appraise the validity and relevance of that research
  • Interpret published economic evaluations and assess their role in decision-making, and barriers to their use
  • Analyse cost and outcome data to complete a simple economic evaluation
  • Apply the use of decision analysis to the design of economic evaluations
  • Produce a focused and answerable economic question that can be addressed using primary or secondary data sources


  • Topic 1: Introduction to key health economic concepts
  • Topic 2: Measuring costs
  • Topic 3: Measuring patient outcomes
  • Topic 4: Types of economic evaluation (1)
  • Topic 5: Types of economic evaluation (2)
  • Topic 6: Economic evaluation alongside clinical trials
  • Topic 7: Decision analytic modelling (1)
  • Topic 8: Decision analytic modelling (2)
  • Topic 9: Interpreting results and uncertainty
  • Topic 10: Systematic reviews and critical appraisal of economic evaluations

Teaching and learning methods

This is a very practical unit. Students work independently through each topic. At the end of most topics there are self-assessment exercises to check you have assimilated core aspects of that topic’s material. There is also regular online discussion with your fellow students which is e-moderated by the module leader and teaching assistants. Two non - compulsory webinars will be held if the demand is sufficient.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will demonstrate analytical skills through their ability to cost and use outcome data in example economic evaluations
Students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to enable them to understand how researchers collect and use economic evidence for economic evaluation. They will plan an economic evaluation and will formulate ideas to build on existing research
Students will critically appraise economic evaluations to assess the strengths and limitations of studies, as well as to consider the generalisability of studies to other settings

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their assignment (3,000 words or equivalent) within 20 working days.
Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will also be provided during a course unit. 

Recommended reading

Drummond, M.F., Sculpher, M.J., Claxton, K., Stoddart, G.L. and Torrance, G.W., 2015. Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programmes. Oxford university press.

Penny Bee, Helen Brooks, Patrick Callaghan and Karina Lovell. A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers (Chapter 5). eISBN: 9781526136527. Available at:

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gemma Shields Unit coordinator

Additional notes

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, Gemma Shields, via email at If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme team via email at

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