Back to Blog UC Online Launches Master’s in Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics BlogUC Online News Share Share on FacebookFollow us on LinkedInShare on PinterestShare via Email UC Online Launches Master’s in Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics Many industries rely on research, innovation and testing to improve the end customer’s experience — for example, the consumer goods and technology industries. The health and medical care industry does this type of outcomes-focused work, as well, and considers the physical health and mental well-being of individuals under their care the customer experience. Healthcare quality and health outcomes have been dual concerns for medical professionals for decades now. But as the field of healthcare continues its evolution, with new treatments and medicines introduced so rapidly, there’s a growing need for people who specialize in health outcomes and pharmacoeconomics. Health Outcomes Defined According to ISPOR (The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research), a global, 14,000-member organization, “health outcomes” or “outcomes research” comprises a set of scientific disciplines that evaluate the effect of healthcare interventions on patients. More broadly, health outcomes is the study of healthcare and its effectiveness, improving care, drug development and medical usage. Health outcomes research generates evidence to improve patient care delivery and informs decision-making related to policy discussions for healthcare reimbursements and public health priorities. A focus on health outcomes helps ensure healthcare practitioners and the industry measure the value (both medicinal and financial) patients receive. When outcomes are assessed, categorized and shared with the healthcare community, it benefits all parties involved — patients, providers, product developers, policymakers, payers and the public. This process improvement keeps the healthcare industry from becoming stagnant or relying on out-of-date or ineffective treatments and medicines. What Is Pharmacoeconomics? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that pharmacoeconomics focuses on the costs and benefits of drug therapy, and pharmacoeconomic evaluations provide a basis for resource allocation and utilization — an increasingly important aspect of health policy decision-making. The NIH goes on to say that: A pharmacoeconomic evaluation may be conducted as an economic assessment incorporated into clinical trials. Such trials should compare the new drug/procedure with an older drug or existing intervention. Four techniques are used for economic evaluation, namely, cost-minimization analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis and cost-benefit analysis. The choice of the evaluation method depends on the nature of outcomes and the context in which the choices need to be made. Calling pharmacoeconomics a “young science” that will mature and improve over time, the NIH calls this area an undeniable need, especially in developing countries. Blending of Health Outcomes With Pharmacoeconomics At University of Cincinnati (UC), we see health outcomes and pharmacoeconomics as an essential pair where real-world data analytics and pharmacoepidemiology can provide evidence-based insights to the healthcare community and those focused on public health, such as policymakers. When medical-field professionals gather information that helps measure and value care and its effect on patients, the data yields insights that inform healthcare-related decisions. Healthcare administrators and providers and public health officials can use these findings to help to improve the overall quality of medical care provided to people. New Online Program, Master’s in Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics UC’s introduction of our Master of Science (MS) in Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics program is occurring at an opportune time. Today, more medical professionals and organizations are needed to focus on patient outcomes and the economic side of the healthcare equation. Our graduate-level program, which is 100% available online to students living in and outside the Cincinnati metropolitan area, is designed to grow your expertise in pharmaceutical sciences, economics, business and quantitative analysis, so you can expertly apply this knowledge to conduct and manage health outcomes studies in numerous settings. Who This Degree Is Ideal For If you have a background in healthcare, working in patient care, the pharmaceutical or medical device industry or in healthcare administration, growing your understanding of health outcomes and pharmacoeconomics can be both professionally and personally rewarding. You already know how the health system works, and UC Online’s master’s degree allows you the opportunity to position your career to work in an emerging and greatly needed healthcare niche. Professionally, you can use your master’s degree education in various healthcare settings — public and private systems, insurance, academia, research, nonprofits or policymaking. And with many healthcare areas highly interested in patient outcomes and medicinal effectiveness, your new knowledge will open doors, no matter where you choose to go with your career. On the personal side, when your attention is centered on the healthcare outcomes of patients, treatment effectiveness and drug affordability, the work can be engaging, purpose-driven and rewarding. This is especially true if you worked in other healthcare areas where you didn’t have the time or opportunity to step back and take in a wider, more holistic view of patient care or the industry at large. Curriculum Designed To Be Applicable, Essential UC Online’s MS in Health Outcomes & Pharmacoeconomics program indoctrinates you in the most critical and relevant specialty areas. The program curriculum includes 32 required semester credit hours to satisfy the master’s degree requirements, and you can customize your experience based on your interests. Here are two of the available program courses that focus on health outcomes: Use of Real-World Data in Health Outcomes Research – The objective of this graduate course is to prepare students to evaluate outcomes, comparative effectiveness, and health services research using real-world data (RWD). In this course, students will learn about the contents and structure of typical secondary healthcare databases used to perform outcomes, comparative effectiveness, and health services research, discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of RWD data and identify methodological challenges of using RWD. Health Policy 1: Health Policy & Regulation – This course provides you with an overview of the structure, systems, and policies of healthcare delivery in the U.S. and the “big three,” Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. You’ll explore other areas, including long-term care, mental health and technology, and the underlying values and ethics that drive the politics of the healthcare system and policy analysis and advocacy. Here are two pharmacoeconomics-focused classes: Pharmacoeconomics and Decision Analytical Modeling – This course is designed to provide an understanding of the theory and application of economic evaluation methods used in healthcare decision-making. Various methods such as cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, cost-minimization analysis, and cost-benefit analysis will be discussed to evaluate healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, and medical device products. Additionally, techniques to measure costs and outcomes will be discussed in detail along with assigning the monetary value to outcomes. Different types of models such as decision trees and Markov models will be taught. Students will have a chance to conduct independent group projects using a decision-analytic software package by which they will be able to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare different therapeutic options. The Healthcare Marketplace – Pharmacy Economics – This course provides you with an overview of the economics/marketplace related to the pharmaceutical industry and health benefit payment models. Your introduction to pharmacy-related business aspects includes regulation and pricing, contracts and purchasing models, group purchasing organizations, specialty pharmacies, innovation and marketing. UC Online’s Advantages and Differentiators Earning a healthcare-related MS online from UC affords you a variety of benefits to make your experience one you will value for life: You’re enrolled in a high-quality, leading online program designed for working healthcare professionals, with no requirement to travel to and from school. You can balance your educational pursuits with other work/life demands because you choose the time and place where you want to study. You interact with talented enthusiastic instructors and students from diverse backgrounds with unique perspectives on the industry. This enriches your experience at UC and expands your professional network, benefitting your career. You enjoy start-to-graduation support, pairing with a Student Success Coordinator whose attention ensures you get the support you need so you can meet the degree requirements. (Meet Mallery, one of our SSCs.) Your expertise grows and career options multiply, giving you the opportunity to work wherever you desire — in research, data management, marketing, consulting, technology, pharmacology, medical device development or policymaking. Ready to Take Your Next Step? If your interest in the specialty fields of health outcomes and pharmacoeconomics is piqued, please reach out to an Enrollment Services Advisor who will answer any questions you have about the master’s degree program. We appreciate you considering UC Online and want to leave you with four thoughts: First, UC is a premier research institution with a proud, 200-year history of educational excellence. For more than 20 years, our fully online master’s degree programs have met the educational needs and career aspirations of students living both in and outside the U.S. UC Online and all UC regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. UC is ranked #1 in Ohio and #16 nationally as an online college leader by TheBestSchools.org. We look forward to meeting you!