POPLHLTH 720 : Cost Effectiveness Evaluation

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The application of economic methods to the evaluation of health services and programmes. The principles and techniques of economic evaluation, the process of measuring costs and benefits of health services, quality of life measurement.

Course Overview

This course provides students with an understanding of economic evaluation generally and of cost-effectiveness in particular.  It focuses on the use of decision analytic modelling to provide a broad picture of likely costs and outcomes for use in decision making.  No prior knowledge of economics is necessary (although it may be helpful).  It is relevant for students interested in public health and decision making.  

This course makes considerable use of Microsoft Excel.  If you have not used this program before, it is highly recommended that you use some online material to make sure that you are familiar with it before the course starts.  Towards the end of the course, some of the material that is introduced in Excel is also covered in the statistical package, R.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Dr Richard Edlin, School of Population Health
(09) 923 9029

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand and apply cost effectiveness analysis. (Capability 1.3, 2.1 and 3.1)
  2. Justify selection of health outcomes for economic evaluation (Capability 1.3 and 3.1)
  3. Communicate the results of a cost-effectiveness analysis in a standard reporting form (Capability 1.3, 2.1 and 4.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 25% Individual Coursework
Decision tree worked example 30% Individual Coursework
Markov model worked example 30% Individual Coursework
Probabilistic sensitivity analysis 15% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Decision tree worked example
Markov model worked example
Probabilistic sensitivity analysis

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, I try to use flipped classrooms in most of the (six) teaching days.   I would anticipate that there are likely to be 12 hours of pre-recorded lectures, and 15 hours of classroom time.  Computer-based learning is used for exercises that take another 23 hours.  (So, 50 hours of formal teaching time.)  The courses is relatively light on reading, with around 10 hours of reading time.

The remaining 90 hours will be spent on 90 hours of work on assignments, with a split of around 35 hours for the first two assignments (40% each), and around 20 hours for the final assignment (20%).  

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is strongly advised at scheduled activities including exercise sessions to complete components of the course.  Course content is typically novel to most students, so that those who do not attend tend to struggle with the assessments.

Lectures and discussion sessions will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including exercise sessions will not be available as recordings.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery over six weeks, with the balance of lectures, discussion sessions and exercise sessions varying across weeks.

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.

The course textbook (available online from the library) is:
Edlin R., McCabe, C., Hulme, C., Hall, P., Wright, J. (2015) Cost Effectiveness Modelling for Health Technology Assessment. ADIS.

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.

In the first session of every course, the changes made to the course from feedback in previous iterations will be discussed.  From previous years, feedback has changed the balance between lecture and exercise sessions and the availability of some additional material online.  Following the 2020 running of the course, the number of teaching days have been increased and these days made shorter as it was clear from student feedback that online sessions were too long.  I am awaiting feedback from the 2022 running and will discuss my responses to this on the first teaching day in 2023.

Other Information

As the course aims to provide much of the instruction using practical exercises in Microsoft Excel, it is difficult to obtain full value out of this course if you are unable to attend in person or if you cannot use Excel. Postgraduate students who have not used Microsoft Excel before are recommended to take some online training before the course to gain familiarity with this software before this course begins.

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 against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Where computerised detection is not feasible (e.g. for Excel workbooks), manual and coding checks may be used.

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.