Spring 2023 - HSCI 891 G100

Special Topics in Health Sciences (3)

Valuing Health and Health Outcomes

Class Number: 5742

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.



Special topics in areas not currently covered within the graduate program offerings.


This course explores the theory and methods used to measure and value health and health outcomes. The measurement and valuation of health outcomes, including patient-reported 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.


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


  • Introduce the concept of health and discuss its many definitions
  • Discuss the commonly used approaches for the valuation of health and describe the challenges for valuing health
  • Discuss economic evaluation methods, in relationship to distributional judgments and drug funding decisions
  • 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
  • Design a new patient-reported outcome measure



  • Class Participation 20%
  • Draft Proposal for the PROM Written Assignment 10%
  • Final PROM Written Assignment 30%
  • In-class Presentation of Final PROM 20%
  • Small group in-class presentation: critical appraisal of journal article 20%


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.

Small group presentation of a journal article (20%): Students will be required to deliver an in-class, small group presentation on a journal article that discusses the 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). The presentation should be 15-20 minutes in duration, including a question and answer session.

 Small group in class presentations based on a critical appraisal of a journal article will be held on January 31, February 7, 14, 28, and March 7 (students will need to sign up for their small groups and preferred dates)

Developing a new patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) (total of 60%): Students will be required to write a final paper that describes the design of a new patient-reported outcome measure or PROM. Essays are to be a maximum of 3,000 words and will be assessed in terms of both content and style. References are expected and the word limit must be strictly adhered to. Full details of assignments will be given during class. Prior to the submission of the final written assignment, a draft proposal for your PROM written assignment will be submitted to the instructors for feedback (maximum of 350 words). Next, students will submit their final PROM assignment (maximum of 3,000 words). Last, students will give a 5 minute presentation of their final PROM to the class, and will take audience questions.


Part 1: Draft proposal for the PROM written assignment is due Friday, February 3, 2023 by 11:59pm

Part 2: Final PROM written assignment is due Monday, March 17, 2023 by 11:59pm

Part 3: Presentations of final PROMs will be in class, scheduled for Tuesday March 21, March 28 and April 4 (students will need to sign up for their preferred dates)



John Brazier, Julie Ratcliffe, Joshua Saloman, and Aki Tsuchiya. Measuring and Valuing Health Benefits for Economic Evaluation. Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition 2017.

Donaldson C. Credit Crunch Health Care. Policy Press, London, 2011. (Chapters 6, 7, 10 only – copies will be provided in class)

Additional required readings are shown in the course schedule or will be provided in class.

Throughout the course, links to online peer-reviewed articles will be provided through Canvas or in class.


Readings will be provided throughout the course


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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