The Health Economics Resource Page
Links and hints for accessing and using resources
in health economics.
This page is designed for students enrolled in the MSc in Economic Evaluation in Health Care, City University, London.
1. Conducting a literature search
2. Journals you should look at frequently
3. Economic evaluation in priority setting: the UK and abroad
4. Sources of information on
the UK’s health system
5. Sources of cost
data in the UK
6. The measurement and valuation of health
7. Institutions doing health
8. Other sites and links –
and a word of caution!
1. Conducting a literature search
Journal articles on health economics topics appear in a wide range of journals
– clinical, social science and ‘mainstream economics’ journals. This means
that a literature search on a health economics topic requires multiple search
A good starting point is PubMed (formerly called Medline).
will pick up papers in clinical and social sciences journals. Papers in the two
principal health economics journals – Journal of Health Economics and Health
Economics – are also included in PubMed. You can search by author or
subject, obtain full referencing details and often short summaries (abstracts),
but usually not full-text versions, for each paper.
a PubMed search will usually pick up most papers of relevance, some important
papers in health economics are published in mainstream economics journals not
covered by PubMed. For example, the seminal papers by Arrow (1963), Grossman
(1972) and Sen (1980) don’t show up in PubMed because they are published in
the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy and Econometrica
respectively. Health Economics papers in economics journals include both
theoretical and empirical work. To search the economics literature, use EconLit.
is available as an electronic resource from City University’s website. You
need a username and password to access it – you will be advised of this in
class, but if you forget, contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org
In economic evaluation, York University’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) provides a database and reviews of economic evaluation papers.
will often provide you with some initial critical commentary on economic
evaluation papers you pick up from a search – but the reviews are not
comprehensive and you should not assume they are an adequate substitute for
reading and systematically reviewing the paper yourself!
2. Journals you should look at frequently
when you are not looking for papers on a specific topic, there are a few
journals you should take at least a quick look at each time a new issue is
released. Principal among these are the Journal of Health Economics (JHE)
and Health Economics (HE) - vital reading if you want to keep up
to date with current developments in the field. If you are using a City
University computer, you can access an e-version of JHE via the library’s
website. HE is available in hardcopies in the library.
UK-based health economists, another ‘must read’ is the British Medical
is plenty of health economics material in the BMJ (although it is written for a
non-economics readership) – see:
The BMJ website is great – extremely well designed and easy to navigate. You can conduct searches, and each paper comes complete with links to papers it refers to, other papers that have subsequently referred to it, and ‘quick responses’ that have been received to the paper. Best of all, most papers are available as ‘full text’ versions on this site, making it a valuable source of information.
Economic evaluation in priority
setting: the UK and abroad
National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) is highly recommended
for those interested in the practice of economic evaluation and its use on
site contains an incredible amount of material – the full reports on technical
appraisals, NICE’s decisions (“Guidance”) and appeals documentation
supporting each and every decision NICE makes are able to be downloaded. Beware
of printing these off – some of the technical reports are lengthy. Other
things worth looking on in this site include NICE’s press releases,
information on the new Citizens’ Council and NICE’s submission to the 2001
Select Committee’s Inquiry on NICE. This site is testimony to NICE’s
commitment to transparency in decision making.
valuable source of information on economic evaluation of health care in the UK
is the National Collaborating Centre for Health Technology Assessment (NCCHTA).
This website allows you to download publications and obtain information on
organisations in other countries include:
The Health Technology Board of Scotland
The Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA)
New Zealand’s PHARMAC
Oregon Health Services Commission prioritised lists of publicly-funded
health services is available from:
in itself not an economics based approach, the WHO’s Global Burden of
Disease study is an approach to priority setting worth familiarizing
Sources of information of the UK’s health system
Department of Health website contains a vast amount of information on the NHS
and on health policy.
This is not the easiest site to use, and sometimes it is difficult to find a specific document and unless you know exactly what you are looking for.
details of the new fixed-price system for reimbursing providers, see:
UK Treasury site contains documents on NHS spending – for example, the 2002
budget and the accompanying Wanless Report detail the planned massive increases
in spending on the NHS and the Government’s rationale for this.
commentaries and comment on recent policy developments in the UK health sector,
see the King’s Fund – an independent health policy ‘think-tank’.
This site is not well designed for those specifically interested in health economics – but relevant material can be found under ‘the health systems team’ including ‘resource rooms’ and ‘publications’.
Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) provides unit cost data
for a range of health and social care services, including costs in the NHS
costs by Health Resource Groups (HRGs) are available from the Department of
Health for 1998, 1999 and 2000. This site also includes costing manuals. Costs
by hospital and specialty are contained in Appendix 1 of this document:
Department of Health also provides data on the utilisation of hospital services
(‘hospital episode statistics’) by HRG, downloadable as Excel or pdf files.
The measurement & valuation of health
EuroQol Group website has information on the EQ-5D as an instrument for
measuring and valuing health, references to papers using the EQ-5D.
information on instruments approved by the Health Outcomes Trust (including the
SF36, SF12, QWB and the SIP), see;
for further resources on the measurement and valuation of quality of life from
the Mapi Institute:
of the Australian WHOQoL instrument are available from:
doing health economics research
of these sites contain information on the institution itself and its staff,
which is of limited use other than curiosity! However, some – for example, HERU
at Aberdeen – provide downloadable papers. The Office for Health Economics
does not have downloadable papers, but does provide a searchable listing of
their publications (which are very reasonably priced), and order details.
Health Economics Research Unit (HERU) at Aberdeen University
University of York’s Centre for Health Economics (CHE)
London-based Office for Health Economics (OHE) site has resources and
lists of its publications.
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) site has
‘health’ as one of its research themes. Click on ‘health’ to see OECD
reports on a range of health topics. There is a health economics working paper
series, but this contains just 8 papers, and is largely focused on health system
performance and reform in specific countries.
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Papers series
includes a selection of papers on health economics topics, all of which are
available as pdf files.
you type ‘health economics’ into a search engine such as Google, you will
retrieve a wide range of material. But be cautioned – although some of it is
extremely valuable, some is of variable quality. Be especially careful about
‘unofficial’ notes and essays you may find – these can contain mistakes
worth looking at for further links include:
(search under ‘health and welfare’)
Finally, while the internet provides a vital means of identifying and accessing papers, reports and information in health economics, remember that some important contributions to the health economics literature are in books which are not available as e-versions.
Back to main page