Health Economics


HAD5723H – Health Services Accounting


This course is designed to teach the learner the basic model of microeconomics that underlies much of the thinking and perspective of health economics. The concepts of utility maximization in a perfectly competitive world with no asymmetry of information will be presented, along with the market imperfections and distortions exhibited by the market for health care to guide the learner in interpreting the work of health economists. Specifically, the price wedge between consumers and suppliers that exists with health insurance, along with the asymmetry of information, will be discussed in detail and repeatedly. After introducing the theory and noting how the market for health care differs from other markets, the course will move onto review 6 themes: the impact of public health insurance in Canada, incentives facing physicians, technology and cost effectiveness analysis specifically related to drugs, behavioral economics at play in health, and conflicts of interest. Prior knowledge of economics will be helpful but is not required.

Learner Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • To understand the basic model of microeconomic theory and utility maximization, the assumptions that underlie that model and what happens when they are violated.

  • To understand how Canadian health care and the people who deliver it have been affected by public insurance and payments over the last 60 years.

  • To understand how incentives work to change behavior of both consumers and suppliers, and the nuances of the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

  • To understand what cost- effectiveness analysis is, and what it is not. To understand the uses and limitations in evaluating health care technologies.

  • To be able to identify the parties who are affected by a policy or practice intervention, and the incentives that motivate those parties.

  • To understand how behavior is motivated by risk and framing , as well as some of the cognitive psychological concepts that influence behavior.

  • To understand the impact of conflicts of interest and how self-discipline and personal ethics usually fails to curb that influence in health care.

  • At the end of this course, the learner should be able to apply and defend economic concepts that are incorporated in decision making for health care administrators at the policy, public health and clinical levels.

Learner Competencies

(Competencies refer to the National Centre for Healthcare Leadership Competency Model) .

  • Accountability
  • Achievement Orientation
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Information Seeking
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Performance Measurement
  • Self-confidence


Allan Detsky

Allan Detsky


Kieran Lewis Quinn


Accepting Students

Amol Verma

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Accepting Students