HAR694: Valuing the Benefits of Health Care


This module explores in detail specialist topics related to the valuation of healthcare benefits. The course content is based around three topics: the assessment of outcomes in economic evaluation, the quality adjusted life year (QALY) model and its weaknesses, and the use of alternative methods like willingness to pay. All topics will start with the basic critical appraisal of these methods developed in the Economic Evaluation module (HAR6260) and explore in greater depths the weaknesses of conventional methods and the alternative formulations that are available.


This module aims to explore in detail specialist topics related to the valuation of the benefits of health care interventions. It will enable students to identify alternative methods for valuing health outcomes and calculating QALYs, and alternative approaches that take a broader perspective than QALYs.

Learning outcomes

By the end the module, a student will be able to:

  1. identify a range of approaches and instruments to valuing health outcomes and formulate suitable alternative approaches
  2. evaluate critically strengths and weaknesses in the QALY model
  3. evaluate the role of alternative approaches to the QALY

Further Details

This module teaches a selection of the internationally regarded research conducted by ScHARR in health outcomes and utilities, including condition-specific and generic preference-based measures, mapping, and reviewing and using utilities in health-economic models.

As well as teaching the Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) measure, the module is internationally relevant through its coverage of healthy year equivalents (HYEs), disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and wellbeing. The module also includes consideration of wider societal benefits, willingness to pay and discrete choice experiments, that all go beyond QALYs to measure benefit.

Teaching Methods

The aims and learning outcomes are achieved through a variety of teaching methods. Informal lectures (11 x 2 hours) and tutorials will provide the majority of the contact hours between students and lecturers.

Seminars (6x1 hour) will be based around homework given to the students in preceding weeks.


Students will also be expected to undertake approximately 120 hours of independent study which will be self-directed through small pieces of homework that will be set throughout the unit.


Component Weighting
A 2,000 word essay (40% weighting) comprising of a critical appraisal of the conventional QALY and outcome measurement methods and the identification of suitable alternative approaches. This relates to learning outcomes 1 and 2. 40%
A 2 hour written unseen examination (50% weighting) will be undertaken to assess the knowledge and understanding of the student relating to the range of methods for valuing the benefits of health care. This relates to learning outcomes 2 and 3. 50%
A group presentation of 15 minutes followed by 5 mins discussion 10%