Single Course

Health Economics and Financing

Safety, Health and Environment (SHE)

Course Summary:

This course combines health economics and healthcare financial management. There is an introduction to double entry accounting to provide a working knowledge of cash and accrual accounting, plus an analysis of balance sheets, profit and loss statements and cash flow statements. How to construct a budget in a healthcare environment is a core skill in this course.

The health economics component of the course introduces students to important economic concepts such as opportunity cost and supplier-induced demand and illustrates how these concepts can be applied to the healthcare industry

Course Objectives:

  • Identify the three main financial statements – ie the balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow statement.
  • Have a working knowledge of the doctrines and conventions of accounting - such as relevance, reliability, materiality and timeliness.
  • Explain the difference between cash and accrual accounting.
  • Calculate a break-even point for a health service.
  • Construct a budget and analyse the difference between budgeted and actual outcomes.
  • Apply these accounting concepts to better understanding the cost and revenue structures of the organisation in which you work
  • Identify and outline the key aims, concepts and principles of health economics.
  • Outline the unique features of the healthcare market and how these influence decisions relating to equity and efficiency;
  • Explain the reasons why governments intervene in the healthcare industry and the impact this has on the demand for health services.
  • Identify specific factors that influence the current and future demand and supply of health care.
  • Outline the main features of the healthcare system – in particular how health spending is financed and the roles and responsibilities of various levels of government.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of activity based funding as a means of financing the provision of health services.

Course Outline

  • Develop a broad overview of the organisation of development aid, its evolving architecture and critically discuss its effectiveness. Critically appraise the role of the donor community in recent health sector developments.
  • Describe and analyse the relationship between health and economic development within the macro-economic context of low income countries.
  • Critically analyse the role of the pharmaceutical sector, in the context of existing international trade laws and agreements, on health and on health service delivery and access in low and middle income countries.
  • Analyse the benefits and critical problems associated with public-private relations and, in particular contracting and performance based finance.
  • Appraise alternative and innovative modes of financing of the health systems.
  • Analyse the key characteristics of health system decentralisation in low and middle income countries: popularity, diversity, contradiction, context specifics; and propose a broad outline for effective health system decentralisation.
  • Discuss the conditions and circumstances in which health programmes should be vertically organised or integrated.
  • Examine and discuss the meaning and importance of community participation in development work with the aim of reflecting upon past experiences and then develop strategies for working with communities towards achieving better accountability and governance.