Fall 2019 - HSCI 473 D100

Special Topics in Health Sciences III (3)

Valuing Health and Health Outcomes

Class Number: 2637

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Will vary according to topic.



Selected topics in areas not currently offered within the undergraduate course offerings.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores the theory and methods used to measure and value health and health outcomes. The measurement and valuation of health outcomes are core components of health economics, and in particular in methods for the economic evaluation of health care interventions. Economic evaluation methods play a central role in Canadian health systems – they underpin funding decisions for new drugs and health technologies across the country. This course will cover concepts of health and its definitions, how health and health outcomes are measured within discipline of health economics, the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) model and its weaknesses, and alternative approaches for valuing health. It will also include discussion of the role of equity considerations, patients and the public in approaches to valuing health and health outcomes.



Ø  Introduce the concept of health and discuss its many definitions
Ø  Discuss the commonly used approaches for the valuation of health and describe the challenges for valuing health
Ø  Discuss economic evaluation methods, in relationship to distributional judgments and drug funding decisions
Ø  Work through case studies and real world examples to illustrate key concepts and methods Discuss success factors to improve the measurement and valuation of health


  • Class participation 20%
  • Written assignments 50%
  • Final group exercise 30%


Class participation (20%): Students will be marked on their willingness to participate in class discussion and the degree to which their participation enhances discussion in the class.  

Written assignments (50%): Students will be required to write a two essays on challenges or issues falling under the topic of valuation of health and health outcomes  (examples of topics might include valuation of health outcomes in a specific health condition, valuation of health outcomes in a specific population, drug funding decision making, public engagement, disease adaptation). Essays are to be a maximum of 2000 words and will be assessed in terms of both content (75% of the mark) and style (e.g., grammar, flow, ease of reading = 25% of the mark). References are expected (minimum of 10 citations) and the word limit must be strictly adhered to. Full details of assignments will be given during class. Late assignments will receive a penalty of 10% for every day the assignment is late.  

Due date for Assignment 1 is Friday, October 11, 2019 [end of week 5]  
Due date for Assignment 2 is Friday, November 8, 2019 [end of week 9]  

Final group exercise (30%): Details to follow

Group presentations will be on Monday, December 2, 2019.

GRADING SCHEME: Individual class participation and written assignments will be graded with a numerical mark (i.e., points awarded out of 100) and a letter grade; students will only see their letter grade. The median final grade for students in this course is expected to be a B/B+. Students should be aware that the Faculty of Health Sciences has policies to minimize grade inflation in our courses and to be sure that superior performances are rewarded appropriately. No strict curve will be applied.


REQUIREMENTS: 90 units, two 200-level HSCI courses; or permission of the instructor.



John Brazier et al. Measuring and Valuing Health Benefits for Economic Evaluation. 2nd Edition 2016.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html