Health care is an area of activity whose tasks include providing affordable health care to the population and preserving and improving health. The well-being, quality of life and life expectancy of a country’s population depend on the country’s healthcare development level. Therefore, the leadership of all countries pays a lot of attention to research that examines the functioning of health systems and the factors that affect the costs of the industry and the quality of medical care. Such research is engaged in such a discipline as health economics. In this article, we will tell you more about what this science does and its advantages.
What Health Economics Studies
Health economics is the applied part of economics that applies to health care. Its main goal is fair and efficient health care for all.
The scope of interest of health economists is detailed by Alan Williams, the economics professor whose work has had the greatest impact in the field. He identified eight themes that health economics covers:
- what affects health (other than the level of health care in the country);
- what health is and what its value is;
- the demand for health care;
- the supply of health care (the number of resources that drug and equipment companies can provide to the market or an individual);
- microeconomic evaluation of individual healthcare institutions and their structural units;
- market equilibrium;
- system-wide evaluation;
- planning, budgeting and monitoring mechanisms.
- cost-effectiveness analysis
All of these issues are considered in terms of efficiency — maximizing the benefits of available resources. In other words, health economics is the study of how to make treatment more accessible and affordable.
Why Health Economics Matter
The main focus of Health Economics is to examine the relationship between the economic behaviour of stakeholders, the quality of health care, and the cost of healthcare services. Economists conduct research that answers questions such as:
- how healthcare payers pay for health care services;
- how those payments are handled;
- How healthcare is financed;
- what alternative approaches exist today to producing drugs, treating certain diseases, and providing medical care;
- how planning, budgeting, and monitoring of health care can be improved.
In addition to local problems, scholars focus on such global issues as:
- climate change;
- pandemics and access to vaccines;
- psychological disorders;
- obesity, etc.
Researchers use economic theories and models (https://digitalho.com/health-economic-modelling/) to produce the most accurate, evidence-based results that can be visualized and communicated to government officials, drug manufacturers, and healthcare consumers.
The results of such research help to reorganize and improve healthcare systems around the world, which contributes to increased longevity and health of the world’s population.
Who is important to Health Economics Research
Decisions that are made in health care affect absolutely everyone. Therefore, research by scientists who study the relationship between economic behaviour and health is of interest to everyone. However, for some groups of people and organizations, such data are of maximum benefit:
- physicians, nurses, and other health care providers, especially those in private medicine;
- healthcare administrators are responsible for processing insurance benefits and managing the financial performance of healthcare providers;
- employers who provide private insurance to employees;
- politicians and officials are responsible for making medical-related policy decisions.
Understanding the basic economic principles and perspectives of health economics enables optimal decisions to be made, considering all the limitations and drawbacks of the chosen