Economic evaluation of health care programmes: 6 intense weeks

I only can say one word: finally!

This week we finished the course “Economic evaluation of health care programmes” and I cannot be more thankful. First, because the faculty was very good and dedicated and made the biggest effort in our learning. And because it was very demanding and all of us were really exhausted. Two group assignments (in couples, really) and one individual assignment that was scheduled to use 9 hours. Maybe less if you decided to finish early because you are a genius or because you did not want to see more economic evaluations and set a limited time to work on the assignment (I am in the second group).

As I learnt from Taina, former Policy course coordinator: the important issue here is about the learning process. Of course I learned a lot starting by the type of economic evaluations you can perform, continuing with the practical use of QALYs (Quality Adjusted Life Years) in economic evaluations and finally some advanced MS Excel features. I was not that bad in MS Excel but the 2nd group assignment was really a stretch. But I also learned, once more time (you can learn the same thing twice), that there is a limit in the effort you should put in an assignment. When the marginal utility is low maybe your are assuming a higher price than your willingness to pay. The marginal utility would be the additional benefit (grade, learning or additional social and group work skills, etc.) you get for each unit of effort. And the willingness to pay is how much you are willing to invest for unit of benefit. Have I already talked about marginal utility and willingness to pay here? If yes, it has not been enough. The marginal utility in both group assignments was already low, the marginal output was lower every minute and it was more costly. Efficiency was decreasing.

I am trying to show that I have learnt some economy (hope I am not making gross mistakes in this post) and I am following the example of Sofia in her post where she used some technical jargon of her own scientific field. Thankfully I understood hers, hope you understand mine.

Final recommendation for those admitted to Master in Public Health, Health Economy track: you really need to be skilled in excel if you want to take advantage of this course. You do not need to create macros or write code in Visual Basic but by this time of the Master you should be able to use different functions, conditionals, nesting functions and other fancy features. You will also learn SPSS in this program but we did not use that software in this course.

PS: The new course, Health and Medical Care Management, seems to be even more demanding and it is longer. Our hope is that we will survive to see the Swedish summer. How whinning, complaining I am!

One thought on “Economic evaluation of health care programmes: 6 intense weeks

  1. I enjoyed reading details about your coursework, especially since I’m in the other track of the Public Health Sciences program. It’s interesting to compare and contrast the skills with which we are being imparted as well as the general nature of the program. For example, we only use SPSS and have only very rarely had to use Excel (just for calculating life tables). I believe another difference is that the final assessments in your program tend to be projects, whereas we have always had final exams. I look forward to hearing more and especially to being reunited with you all for the final course in December!

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