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University of Pennsylvania

The Economics of Health Care Delivery

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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In this course, you’ll learn about the key components of health care, and the economics behind their principles and pricing strategies. Professors Ezekiel Emanuel of Penn Medicine and Guy David of the Wharton School have designed this course to help you understand the complex structure of the health care system and health insurance. Through study and analysis of providers and insurance through an economic lens, you’ll learn how basic economic principles apply to both principles and payment methods. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to identify different types of health care providers and understand the dynamic between the providers and patient so you can employ best practices and maximize profit for your health care organization.


  • Module 1
    • This module was designed to give you a deeper understanding of the history and structure of the American health care system. You’ll begin by examining the history of health care providers and improvements in health care technology throughout the years. Then you’ll look at the different evolutions of insurance throughout history, the purpose of health insurance, and the inherent issues and solutions within the concept of insurance. You’ll learn key aspects of Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs that increase access to health care. Then, you’ll evaluate the Iron Triangle of Health Care—quality, cost, and access—and the main areas of focus and tension for health care policy. By the end of this module, you’ll have a richer understanding of the growth of health care providers, insurance, and government programs and their impact on health care access.
  • Module 2
    • In this module, you’ll be introduced to the concept of insurance, and focus more closely on the structure and components of insurance. You’ll also learn what determines the size of an insurance premium and why people demand health insurance. Through analyzing the problem of moral hazard and asymmetric information, you’ll accurately measure the impact of cost-sharing arrangements, such as deductibles and copays. By the end of this module, you’ll be able to identify why people are willing to pay insurance, how companies quantify how much people are willing to pay for insurance, and effectively discover solutions to both asymmetric information and adverse selection.
  • Module 3
    • In this module, you’ll examine the role of the physicians and hospitals in the health care ecosystem. You’ll explore the different types and payment methods for both physicians and hospitals, and how hospitals utilize these methods to maximize profit. Through analyzing the Health Care Value Chain and Principal-Agent Problem from Economics, you’ll be able to establish the unique importance of physicians in the health care markets as a perfect agent, and the different approaches and implications of this relationship. You’ll also gain a general overview of the characteristics that define hospitals, the effects of different trends on the decline in number of beds in hospitals, and two common hospital practices to address this issue: cost shifting and cross subsidization. By the end of this module, you’ll be able to better understand the role of physicians and hospitals in health care markets and employ best practices and maximize profit for your health care organization.
  • Module 4
    • In this module, you’ll explore a range of other health care providers outside of physicians and hospitals. Through the examination of different examples of post-acute care such as hospices, you’ll develop a better understanding of the shift toward holistic care and support in post-acute care providers. You’ll also discover the benefits of vertical integration, and how you can better allocate resources and offer competitive pricing. Finally, you’ll be introduced to the methods of government intervention in health care and learn more about various antitrust legislations such as the Sherman Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and Federal Trade Commission Act. By the end of this module, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the health care ecosystem, and how various providers of health care affect each other within that system.

Taught by

Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Guy David


4.8 rating at Coursera based on 648 ratings

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