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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Health Economics Logo

Health Economics Information Resources: A Self-Study Course

Introduction and Purpose

This online course:

  • Describes the scope of health economics and its key information resources
  • Highlights the sources and characteristics of health care financing information in the U.S.
  • Outlines issues relating to the quality of health economic evaluation studies
  • Guides users in the identification, retrieval, and assessment of high quality health economic evaluation studies and related publications

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview and discussion of important sources of health economics information so that course participants can:

  • Develop more systematic and effective approaches to its identification and retrieval
  • Gain greater understanding about its quality and role in health policy formulation and decision-making

Course Structure

The course is presented in four modules, listed below. Learners should begin with Module 1 and progress linearly through the modules in order to maximize the learning of this concept.

Module 1 - The Scope of Health Economics and Key Information Sources

Module 1 is divided into two parts:
  • Part 1 - Outlines the scope of health economics and and includes the Williams' model of the Structure of Health Economics
  • Part 2 - Outlines and highlights the type of information which may be required for health economics and where to find it

Module 2 - Sources and Characteristics of Information Relating to Health Care Financing in the US

Material for this module was prepared by Jean Newland, Librarian, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. It contains information on sources of information relating to health care financing in the United States.

Module 3 - Identification and Retrieval of Health Economic Evaluations

Module 3 presents an effective approach to systematic searching of published health economic evaluation studies by:
  • Explaining the definition and purpose of economic evaluation studies
  • Highlighting the characteristics of the health economic evaluation literature
  • Examining how economic evaluation studies are indexed in the two major bibliographic databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE

Module 4 - Principles of Critical Appraisal of Health Economic Evaluations

Module 4 provides an introductory guide to quality appraisal of published health economic evaluation studies by:
  • Explaining why appraisal is required
  • Explaining each of the key areas to consider in the critical appraisal of health economic evaluation studies
  • Providing an appraisal of a selected paper
    • Appraised Paper
    • Case Study - An economic evaluation of thrombolysis in the community

Additional Content

A glossary of health economics and related terms is provided for your use and links have been made to appropriate terms. A list of Web sites and a Bibliography for improving access to health economics information is also linked for viewing.

A Glossary - A valuable glossary of terms is included with hypertext links from the text to the terms.

List of Web sites - Useful Web sites that you can go to for additional information.

Bibliography - Citations used in the compilation of this learning.

Key General Economics Concepts - A few key economics concepts not covered in these modules but relevant to an understanding of health economics are included in a separate, optional section. No concepts from the Key Health Economics Concepts will be used in the quizzes.

Additional Information

Using the Learning

This online course has been designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer® version 4+ and Netscape™ version 4+.

The course includes two different types of links that may be used to view glossary terms, or visit another Web page.

Words and phrases that appear in bold blue are glossary items. Put your mouse over the term to view a definition. You can also click the link to visit the definition in the full glossary. You may view the entire Glossary by selecting the Glossary link in the course sidebar.

Words and phrases that appear in blue and are underlined, are links to web sites such as other pages of the course or to other sites. Visited links are red.

To return to the beginning of this course, click on the Home Page link that appears in the Menu bar.

Learning as You Go: Testing Yourself

Many pages have a link at the bottom of the page called: Test Yourself. A question based on the content that appeared on that page will appear. After answering the question. click the Return to Lesson link and Next at the bottom of the screen to continue on in the module.

Quizzes, Evaluations and the Certificate of Success

At the end of each module you may elect to try the quiz associated with that module's content. You must take the quiz and get 7 correct out of 10 questions correct in order to get the Certificate of Success for that module. (You may retake each of the quizzes as many times as you like).

The Certificate is intended to be printed on a color printer, but you may also use a black and white printer as easily.

When you have completed each module we invite you to give us feedback via the online evaluation form. We will use this information to improve this and other learning opportunities.


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Last Reviewed: June 22, 2017