POPLHLTH 719 : Health Economics

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Fundamental economic concepts and their application to healthcare. Provides students with some analytical skills with which to address issues and problems in the funding and organisation of health services.

Course Overview

The general objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of some fundamental economic concepts and principles, and the ability to apply those concepts and principles to issues and problems that health care decision makers face on a day to day basis.

The course is divided in four broad sections as follows

1. Some basic health economic concepts

2. Markets and health care

3. Financing health services

4. Evaluating health services

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director: Dr Braden Te Ao
Email: b.teao@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 5046

Course Administrator: Jessica Buxton
Email: jessica.buxton@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 (0)9 3737599 ext 89015

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate and apply basic economic concepts to issues and problems relating to healthcare decision making. (Capability 1, 4, 5 and 6)
  2. Examine and assess the market model and its associated incentives, and appreciate how this framework can be used to analyse the behaviour of different actors within the health system. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Examine and assess the incentives and disincentives associated with different systems of financing health services and how these can influence health service outcomes. (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8)
  4. Explore the ways in which economic evaluation of health services including utility-based measures of health outcomes could be used to inform healthcare decision making. (Capability 2, 3, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam

Workload Expectations

POPLHLTH 719 occupies six half-days at intervals at the School of Population Health at Grafton Campus. This course is a standard 15-point course. It is suggested for this course that three to four hours be set aside to prepare for each session. The rest of the time will be for reading, assignments, study and exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience
Attendance is required at scheduled activities to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars and small group discussions will be available as recordings. The course will include live online events including group discussions. Attendance on campus is required for the exam. The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Attendance is required at scheduled online activities to complete components of the course. The course will include live online events including group discussions/lectures and these will be recorded. Attendance on campus is not required for the exam. Where possible, study material will be released progressively throughout the course. This course runs to the University semester/quarter timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Students are provided access to online course pages that set out the course programme in detail. These pages will provide an overview of the course, assessments, teaching content, required, recommended readings, and resources.

The prescribed text for the course is:
Guinness, D., & Wiseman, V. (2011). Introduction to health economics. (2nd ed) Berkshire: Open University Press

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Here's what the previous cohort of students said they liked about the course:
I was delighted to hear that the previous student cohort felt satisfied with the overall quality of the course (90% generally agreed), it was easy to find the information and resources needed on the Canvas course website (100% generally agreed), and they were informed about how their learning will be assessed (90% generally agreed). Most students felt that the assessments supported the aims of this course (90% generally agreed) and had received helpful feedback on their learning progress (90% generally agreed). Overall, the learning environment allowed effective communication between teaching staff and students (90% generally agreed).
Here's what the previous cohort of students said they would like to see improved:
I also noted a few minor issues experienced students found difficult, namely, staying motivated and engaged with their learning (10% generally disagreed, 20% neutral, while 70% felt motivated and engaged), lack of opportunities to communicate and /or collaborate with their peers (30% neutral, while 70% felt they were able to communicate with their peers), and to feel part of a community of learners (10% disagreed, 20% neutral, while 70% felt they were). Also, there was some dissatisfaction with the quality of small-group teaching (25% neutral, while 75% felt satisfied). These are all very important indeed!
These are the small changes I will make for the next delivery of the course:
  1. I will look at providing more explicit assessment information, full assessment instructions, and lecture recordings, and the material will be made available earlier on canvas.
  2. Develop hybrid teaching and learning delivery modes, as this was found to be popular among students in 2022. Access to a moving microphone for students to improve audio quality for students participating online.
  3. Develop activities and exercises to be utilised during teaching and online via canvas (in-between teaching days) to assist self-directed learning.
In 2024 POPLHLTH 719 will be delivered in semester 1, over six half days, using a flipped-classroom approach with a strong focus on small group discussion and workshop exercises.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.