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What Are Health Economics and Health Care Management?

The work group 5 (AG5) of the Department of Public Health is a team consisting of economists, physicians, psychologists and public health scientists. We address problems and questions of health economics and health care management. At this juncture we focus on different topics e.g. socio-economics evaluation, quality management and organizational development on different levels: the health systems level, the level of health organizations and the level of health technologies or health programs (e.g. diagnoses, therapies, pharmaceuticals). Our approaches of socio-economic evaluations, of quality management and organizational development takes place in research, teaching and in third party funded projects.

Socio-Economic Evaluation
An evaluation is a valuing examination or analysis of a system, an organization, a program or of an intervention. It aims to measure and assess their effects, benefits, costs and acceptance by methods of evaluation research. The valuing assessment distinguishes evaluation from other non valuing forms of examinations or analyses in health care. Our group assesses and compares health services concerning their socio-economic effects. "Priority assignment in health systems" for example is one title of a project in this field. Such projects may contribute to avoid ineffective actions and to foster such actions with an advantageous cost-benefit-relation.

Quality Management
To achieve high quality the demands of the recipients of services (e.g. the patients), of the providers (e.g. the staff) and of the sponsors (e.g. the health insurance funds) have to be met. Hence, we deal with the connected questions on several levels:
  • What characterizes high-quality health care systems (Analyses of health care systems according to WHO, OECD, World Bank Group)?
  • Which effects does quality management have in health organizations (e.g. expertise according to KTQ, ISO, EFQM, and Joint Commission)?
  • What characterizes quality of health technologies (e.g. EbM, HTA)?

Organizational Development
If you compare the results of socio-economic evaluations with the demands of quality management you may find discrepancies. Activities of organizational development may help to reduce these differences Some projects in this field are
  • Work flow optimization in different major sections e.g. outpatient clinic, OI, pharmacy, sterilization, endoscopy, radiology
  • Development of mission statement and strategy in health centres
  • Personnel development and personnel controlling by internal training concepts
  • Development of standards for health-promoting hospitals in the WHO network
  • Quality development in on-line health communications