Summary of first year of Health Economics, Policy and Management master’s programme

A year passed by so quickly! As a starter, I want to say that it has been an amazing experience. Even though I had many concerns throughout the year (probably because of the differences in the “nordic way” of teaching), I cannot express in words how much I have grown and how valuable have been all the lessons that I have learned, both academically and culturally.

On this blogpost I aim to wrap up the overall design and flow of the first year in the health economics, policy and management master’s programme at Karolinska Institutet.

First semester

I remember the feeling of entering the classroom for the first time and thinking “wow, this is actually happening”. I had no idea of what was waiting for me, the amazing people I would meet and all the new knowledge I was going to acquire during this year

Introduction course

Perceived difficulty: 1/5

Our first semester started on a very relaxed tone with the introduction course. Since we had a very loose schedule the first weeks, we were able to settle in, get to know the city, enjoy the last days of the Swedish good summer weather and of course, starting to bond with our future friends from within and outside the programme. For a more information on the introduction course just check the review:

Health Policy

Financing health and medical care

Perceived difficulty: 2/5

This course consisted of our first encounter with this area of the programme (health policy). During this time we were introduced to the basic concepts of economic theory applied to the healthcare industry and the varying approaches towards financing healthcare services in different countries. This course was very helpful for setting the foundation for next courses, since it is vital to understand first how health systems are funded in order to further study its components.

Financing health and medical care course review:

Health policy and systems I

Perceived difficulty: 3/5

Our journey continued right away with this course that was explicitly directed towards health policy topics. We focused then in understanding how health policies are designed, implemented and assessed from different perspectives. This was our first introduction to the World Health Organization’s health systems building blocks framework, which we continued using continuously during all following courses. Our teachers also emphasised a lot the concept and application of systems thinking. I also wanted to highlight that we took a 3 week holiday break and came back to present our evaluations for this course.

Health policy and systems course review:

Planning for health

Perceived difficulty: 2/5

We ended our first semester at KI with this short but very interesting course just after the holiday break. The aim was to study the methods and challenges in health planning across different contexts and societies, as well as understanding the determinants of health. It is really a shame that it lasted only two weeks because it was definitely one of the most fun courses of the year.

Planning for health course review:

Second semester

Epidemiology and Statistics I

Perceived difficulty: 3/5

Our second semester kicked off with the course on basic medical statistics. Since we all come from different academic and professional backgrounds, this was a great opportunity to bring everyone to the same level regarding relevant statistical knowledge that served as foundation for understanding research on future courses. During this course we also had our first time at the computer lab, which prepared us for using SPSSS on future courses.

Epidemiology and Statistics I course review:

Health Economics

Health Outcomes Measurement

Perceived difficulty: 4/5

This has been one of the most influential courses for me during this programme. It might be because most of the concepts were new for me or because of the excellent delivery of the course. We learned the different methods used to measure and value health states, which has been highly relevant in the work I have done since the end of the course. This course includes several hours of work on SPSS.

Health Outcomes Measurement course review:

Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes

Perceived difficulty: 4/5

This course is one of the most “practice-oriented” in the programme. We were taught primarily on how to perform and critically assess an economic evaluation in healthcare, as well as understanding the basics of decision models in healthcare (there’s an advance course next semester to cover more complicated models). We also learned how to estimate costs of medical interventions and health outcomes. This course also includes hours of work with SPSS.

Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmescourse review:

Health Management

Health and Medical Care Management I

Perceived difficulty: 3/5

We ended our first year of master’s with one of the most engaging courses in the programme. We covered the basics of management theory in the healthcare industry also integrating health policy concepts. The course used real-world clases to guide our learning process, including innovative methods in health management and medical education.

Health and Medical Care Management course review:

That’s a wrap up! I hope to have provided you with enjoyable and helpful course reviews throughout this year. I am definitely looking forward to my second year at Karolinska Institutet.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Yours truly,

Julio Sosa.


Instagram: @julio.sosam


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