School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Advanced Health Economics and Financial Management (PHCM9082)

image - Advanced Health Economics and Financial Management


This course will examine the theory and practice of economic evaluation of health care programs using cost benefit analysis. An actual health care program will be used as an example of how economic principles can be used to measure the cost-effectiveness of different health interventions. In addition, more advanced topics in financial management such as capital budgeting and costing of health services will be introduced.

Credit points

This course is an elective course of the Master of Public Health. Master of International Public Health and the Master of Health Management comprising six units of credit towards the total required for completion of each study program. This course builds on the topics covered in PHCM9441 Healthcare Economics and Financial Management.

Mode of study

This course is offered in workshop mode of 3 days duration during the Summer Semester.

Course aim

The main aim of this course is to enable you to develop and enhance your understanding of economic principles, concepts and theoretical frameworks that form the basis of critical assessment of the economic viability of health care programs and initiatives. The course aims to prepare you to develop a deeper understanding of how health services can be costed and how this is essential for the implementation of activity-based funding of health services. In particular, it aims to extend your knowledge and understanding of finance and economics and how these enhanced skills can be applied in the healthcare system to support healthcare and health service related decisions.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Apply economic concepts and principles to current issues facing the Australian healthcare system and health in general.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of both where and how money is allocated in the Australian healthcare system.
  • Understand how economics can contribute to the decision making processes that affect the delivery of health services in Australia.
  • Be able to explain variances between budgeted and actual figures.
  • Determine the appropriate ranking of projects in a capital budgeting decision.
  • Complete a simple product costing exercise.
  • Understand the importance of the costing of health services in an activity based funding model.
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of historical funding and activity-based funding of health care services.
Learning and teaching rationale

The financial management component of this course takes a problem-solving approach which aims to test your knowledge by applying financial concepts to simplified real world situations. Therefore, you will need to not only grasp the concept of capital budgeting but you will also be required to work through a capital budgeting problem and comment on the outcome of your analysis. With the health economics component of the course the emphasis is on how economic concepts and theories can be applied to real world situations currently facing health care in Australia and other countries. While the economics and finance components are separated for teaching purposes in this course – in reality both these disciplines are combined when discussing activity based funding.

Teaching strategies

The workshop will concentrate on introducing you to more advanced financial management concepts and illustrating how these can apply to a healthcare setting. Attendance at the workshop is compulsory as we will work through many practical examples which will assist you in understanding economic and financial concepts and how they apply to health care. As the assignments generally require you to apply these concepts to real world situations it will be difficult for you to do the assignments if you do not attend the workshop. It is expected that you will undertake four hours of private study each week, meaning that over the 12 week duration of this course you are expected to study for a minimum of 48 hours. Along with these strategies, there are additional course materials and readings available to you that are designed to enable you to meet the learning outcomes of this course.


Assessment Task 1 - Financial management
Weighting: 50%

Assessment Task 2 - Health economics
Weighting: 50%

Readings and resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  • Learning folder – lecture notes, online course notes and readings
  • On-campus residential workshop