Course 2022-2023 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/07) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - GIO (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - DSBA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - PPA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - FIN (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Suggested background knowledge


No prior knowledge in healthcare is required for this course.

Mission & Content Summary


Health is a human right and a critical factor for social wellbeing and economic prosperity, as the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences have dramatically shown. As a consequence, health is a global issue requiring coordinated action at all levels (WHO, WTO, EU, national and local governments). Such a strong role of public institutions, national and supranational, is also justified by economic theory; public goods (medical research and health promotion), externalities (infection diseases, insurance markets) and information asymmetries (patient-doctor relationship) leads to extraordinary market failures. Indeed, in healthcare, market forces have to be tamed by the means of grand reforms (e.g., Obama care) and detailed policy measures (e.g., risk adjustment in the German system). Despite similar challenges, however, countries have different healthcare systems as they vary concerning the extent of coverage, governance arrangements, health financing, ownership and payment of providers, human resources, and policies to foster innovation. Healthcare management is unique as well. As healthcare organizations are professional bureaucracies, they pose special challenges to managers, including workers’ motivation, inter-organisational networks, skill-mix, fostering organizational innovation and introducing digital technologies.


The course provides an international overview of management and policy issues related to healthcare systems in Europe and beyond. Its contents are organized in two main blocks. 

Part A: Healthcare systems and policy 

  • Population health and its determinants: a global framework  

  • Health governance, funding and policy making   

  • International comparison, trends and perspectives 

  • In-depth analysis of healthcare systems   


Part B: Management issues in healthcare 

  • Inter-organizational networks within healthcare systems 

  • Healthcare organizations as professional bureaucracies: structures, functions and professional dynamics 

  • Organizational models and issues of coordination of care 

  • Organizational culture and the link with performance 

  • Change and innovation processes within healthcare organizati 


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...

After the successful completion of the course, students can expect to understand the main features of healthcare systems and to master the main practices of healthcare management. Students will acquire wide-ranging and in-depth knowledge of this specific sector and be able to analyze, from a variety of perspectives, the main policy and management issues that affect it at the domestic and international level.


At the end of the course student will be able to...

Master the main concepts used in the healthcare policy and management literature

Review critically the main features of health systems

Frame arguments in a policy debate

Prepare and deliver a group presentation

In addition, students will be able to apply the acquired knowledge to specific cases and to  relevant “current –affairs” topics of their choice within the healthcare domain. 

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


The course will use a mix of interactive class discussions and group work. Class discussions will be based on case studies, journal club sessions (aimed at the discussion of scholarly studies) and structured debates (aimed at the discussion of controversial issues in healthcare). In particular, two structured debates will be organized around two controversial issues in healthcare (a policy and a managerial issue, respectively based on the two parts of the course).The group work will result in a final class presentation and discussion. Guest speakers will complement face-to-face lectures with direct experience from the field.  

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)


Besides the final written exam, assessment will be based on a group work presentation, and the active participation in class discussion in structured class debates or in the presentation of a scientific paper (journal club) 

The grade is articulated as follows: 

a) 60% final written exam: 2 open-ended questions, assessing the level of understanding of the students of the main policy and management issues affecting modern healthcare systems; 

b) 30% group assignment: presentation of analysis of a relevant issues in healthcare and of priorities for potential improvement. This task will allow to assess not only the analytical capacities of students but also their ability to apply knowledge to a specific issue and envisage feasible solutions. The assessment will be based on the following two criteria: 

  • Quality of the analysis and of the suggested improvements 

  • Quality and clarity of the presentation 

c) 10% participation in class discussion (either journal club or debate), assessing the capacity to analyse a relevant issue in healthcare in an evidence-based manner and from multiple perspectives 



100% final written exam: 4 open-ended questions on the material available on BB and the readings including the ones indicated as “optional in the syllabus 

Teaching materials


Scholarly articles and policy documents either available through BB or a Course reserve (only those labelled as “reading material” in the syllabus) 


Scholarly articles and policy documents either available through BB or a Course reserve (also those labelled as “optional reading” in the syllabus) 

Last change 27/06/2022 11:48