What is health economics and why is it important?

Health economics draws on the theories, tools and concepts from the economics discipline, and applies them to the topics of health and health care. Health Economics is used as an evaluation tool to identify, measure, value, and compare the costs and consequences of different public health interventions, to assess the burden of diseases and to determine the efficiency of programs. 


To learn more about health economics, you can complete this free online short course by The Research Education and Training Program: Health Economics Application and Research. By the end of the course participants are able to: 

  • Define health economics and understand its breadth and the context of economic evaluation.
  • Identify the necessary components in calculating cost-effectiveness
  • Recognise the economic translation requirements in a research proposal.
  • Economic evaluation and its relevance to health research and translation.

This following resources have been collated to assist your learning:

Guinness, L., Wiseman, V. (2011). Introduction to health economics. (2nd ed.). Open University Press.

Kobelt, G. (2013). Health economics: An introduction to economic evaluation. (3rd ed.). Office of Health Economics.

Chrisholm, D. Evans, D. B. (2007) Economic evaluation in health: saving money or improving care? Journal of Medical Economics. 10, 325-337.

Health Economics Journal: This Journal publishes articles on all aspects of health economics including theoretical contributions, empirical studies and analyses of health policy from the economic perspective. 

The Western Australian Translation and Collaboration in Health Economics: The WATCHE has been established to provide a platform to support capacity building in health economics through research, teaching and knowledge transfer. The centre has been successful in delivering a number of events, workshops and training opportunities.