EPI 213 - Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Medicine and Public Health

In a world where policy-makers, donors, and payers are increasingly cost-sensitive, how does one measure returns on investments in health? Cost-effectiveness analyses can help formally evaluate clinical and policy decisions, particularly when decisions have to be made on the basis of incomplete or imperfect information (as is usually the case).


The objectives of this course are to give students an understanding of:

  • The use of decision trees to portray alternative courses of action and their consequences
  • Principles of cost-effectiveness analysis, including estimating costs and health outcomes, and estimating cost-effectiveness ratios
  • Uncertainty in input parameters, and how this translates into uncertainty in the principal result of cost-effectiveness analyses
  • Sensitivity analyses, and their central role in informing decisions in the setting of imperfect information
  • Markov modeling to understand long-term costs and consequences of clinical and policy decisions
  • Effective verbal and written communication of cost-effectiveness analyses
  • Real-world examples of cost-effectiveness analyses that influenced clinical guidelines or health policy
  • Specific challenges with cost-effectiveness analyses pertaining to low- and middle-income countries
  • Critical review of published cost-effectiveness analyses

Course directors

Teaching format

Offered by UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Lectures, group project, one-day global health economics seminar

Course credit

2 units