The Mechanics of Health Economics

IFF Training

IFF Training


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About the course

This topical programme will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of health economics, decision-making and the interaction between the public and private sectors in health. With step-by-step explanations, case studies, models, and interactive exercises, this will provide you with the economic and financial expertise that is required to succeed in this vital part of the economy.

You will look at the perspective of clinicians, governments, investors, lenders, healthcare consumers and debt providers to help you appreciate their individual viewpoints. You will complete a risk matrix for a health investment project, analyse a bank lending proposal and study different types of healthcare models including PPP, private hospital and healthcare service provision.


  • How public sector resources are allocated and how to evaluate demographic, illness and medical data
  • The structure and operation of the international pharmaceutical industry and evaluate how they interact with each other
  • The role of budgeting and financial management within public and private sector healthcare and how to construct, manage and assess healthcare budgets
  • Investment processes within health and how to audit, build and use Excel models for health investment decision-making
  • How to understand the complexities of contracts and legal issues within the health industry
  • How to apply risk analysis and evaluation techniques for health investment and risk management

Syllabus modules

Unit 1 - Demographics and Illness

You’ll gain a thorough grounding of the demand side of healthcare. The first part of the unit addresses global demography, regional and national variations, changing demographic patterns, migration and geographic issues of urban and rural settlement, and the impact of climate change. Also included are the latest population data and forecasts from a range of authoritative sources. The second part of the unit treats health from a medical standpoint. It provides you with a panorama of global diseases, their history, prognosis, past, present and future treatments, and survival. Other reasons for requiring medical treatment, principally accidents, are also examined in depth. Quantitative disease and other mortality statistics complement the qualitative analysis. An annex to the unit provides you with the necessary statistical background to interpret both demographic and medical statistics.

Unit 2 - Public Sector Healthcare Provision Systems

This unit introduces you to the world of public healthcare provision internationally. Building on the demographic, disease and accident statistics of the first unit, the purpose of the second unit is to explain how public finances are organised, the different methods of providing healthcare employed by governments across the world, with their relative costs and results, different institutions, standards, employment numbers and human resource issues, and other statistics. The unit then moves on to describe the resource-allocation, value-for-money and decision-making process at government level, with healthcare examples. Finally, you will be taken through a global review of public health systems, the experiences of employees and users, the politics of public healthcare, and major healthcare policy decisions such as vaccination, public health campaigns, and investment plans. There is an annex explaining the mathematics of social investment decision-making methodologies and calculations, with worked examples.

Unit 3 - The Pharmaceutical Industry, R&D and the future

The pharmaceutical industry lies at the heart of modern medicine. Firstly, you will cover development, M&A, current state, and challenges currently facing the industry. As R&D is in turn central to the success and failure of individual pharmaceutical companies, the unit explains the theory and practice behind its role, as well as the many important legal issues surrounding intellectual property in the industry. The unit includes information and analysis on other major companies involved in medicine, such as medical instrument manufacturers, genetic research, equipment, and hospital supplies manufacturers. You will conclude with a thorough review of the healthcare value chain and the allocation of responsibilities and profits throughout.

Unit 4 - Private and Quasi-Private Sector Health Arrangements: Payment Structures, services and Institutions

The global healthcare system is broadly divided into private/quasi-private (including charities and foundations) and public provision. Individuals, as well as companies and other institutions, now commit to a range of different payment structures in order to fund an equally diverse universe of private sector organisations committed to providing healthcare on a commercial basis. You will start by systematically comparing the political background, legislation, regulatory system and competition arrangements in prominent examples internationally of particular health systems, including the United States, Europe, the UK, China, India and countries in the Middle East and Africa. The next section of the unit provides more detail on the precise services offered by different types of private sector service provider, such as physicians, private sector insurance providers, hospitals and clinics, and the vital role of new technology. You will study the financial logic of private health care together with examples of the success and failure of particular private health care providers.

Unit 5 - Measuring Healthcare Costs, Budgets and Performance

The unit provides you with a parallel on the costings side to the revenue analysis of the previous unit. It then gives you examples of healthcare budgeting, highlighting what differentiates healthcare budgets from others and drawing comparisons between the public and private sectors. The objective throughout is to integrate three work streams: (a) demand and revenue forecasts, (b) principles of capital investment, ongoing costs, and the range of budgeting options, and (c) accounting results and management accounting data in order to be able to assess the current and projected financial performance of healthcare organisations.

Unit 6 -Healthcare Capital Investment and Management Decision Making

The healthcare industry is exceptionally capital intensive, requiring not only land but major investments in expensive, specialised equipment. This unit builds on the costing and budgeting learning of the previous unit to explain forecasting techniques, the ways in which decision-making can be made in the private sector, and how performance is reviewed. Comparisons are made with the public sector decision-making rules evaluated in unit 2. The next step is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of both management and financial accounting, and the final element of the unit is to bring both earlier sets of concepts together to enable the valuation of a healthcare business in the real world.

Unit 7 - Contracting out and PPP in Healthcare

Worldwide, governments faced by stringent budgetary pressures have turned to the private sector not only for medicine, but to provide entire hospitals and other non-clinical, even clinical services to the public sector. There are a number of different contract structures under which such arrangements can be undertaken, and the objective of this course is to explain what they are, what they entail, how they work, and what the major issues involved in each of them are. There are wide discrepancies in experience internationally of public-private partnerships (PPP) in healthcare, as well as a range of examples of best practice and intense problems in design and execution. The unit draws on more than two decades of experience in the interaction of private and public healthcare systems to provide you with the best practice and due diligence mechanisms for practitioners in global healthcare settings.

Unit 8 - Financial Structures in Healthcare Investment and Operation

The financial and legal structure of healthcare investments and service provision is critical to their long-term commercial success. This unit will first introduce you to what means are available to the private sector to finance healthcare organisations, and then examine the logic behind financial structure decisions. The unit gives you a more detailed understanding of the actual financial structures used in healthcare finance and their consequence for profitability and service delivery. The distinction between corporate and project finance is explained with the aid of financial models, you are guided step-by-step, prior knowledge of finance or excel is not a necessity. The unit delivers the ability to undertake a commercial evaluation of a healthcare proposal, as well as to understand, audit and build an accompanying healthcare investment model.

Unit 9 - Contracts for Healthcare Projects: Construction, Finance, Service Provision and Operation

As with all commercial projects, the core of the relationships between the numerous different parties in a commercial health investment transaction and ongoing service provision, (whether purely commercial or indirectly to the public sector, and whether project or corporately financed), are the contract documents between them. This unit provides you with a thorough understanding of the relevant contracts and documentation: what documents are involved, starting with private healthcare provision and then moving on to the relationship between institutions, and what purpose they serve, how they work, what they contain, who drafts them, what to look out for in each, and how they fit into the health investment deal as a whole.

Unit 10 - Healthcare Investment and Management Risks and Risk Management

Healthcare investments, private healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies all have a wide range of different risks to each of the parties involved. This unit provides you with a detailed typology of risks facing the industry and how they are distributed across each of the different types of firm involved. The second equally important part of the unit addresses how each of the risks can be managed – the insurance, derivative and management techniques that can be employed, their advantages and disadvantages, and what effect their use has on the distribution of profits. The last part of the unit addresses how risks should be assessed, compared and presented in a management context.


Julian Roche

Julian Roche holds a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, an MPhil in politics from Exeter University and a PhD in agricultural risk management policy from Deakin University. He is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Agriculture Department of the University of W...

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The Mechanics of Health Economics at IFF Training

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