Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  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.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


Technological innovation is one of the key determinants of health. The pace of technological innovation in healthcare is becoming faster than economic growth and its economic sustainability is threatened. Healthcare systems need to adopt principles and instruments aimed at allocating scarce resources so to guarantee the best care to patients from one side and long-term economic sustainability from the other side. At the same time however, governments are keen to preserve and possible enhance the levels of competitiveness and innovativeness of health technology industries, among the most dynamic of the manufacturing industry. This course aims at developing knowledge and instruments to assess health technologies (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, mhealth) in order to support the decision making and the priority setting processes by adopting the perspectives of public policy-makers, providers (e.g. hospitals, clinicians) and manufacturers (e.g. pharmaceutical and medical technologies companies).


The course covers the following topics by adopting a national and international perspective:

  • Definitionof technological innovation in healthcare and key features of different technologies (e.g. drugs, devices).
  • Comparative economic instruments to support the health related decision making process in health and healthcare.
  • Health Technology Assessment.
  • The industries of health technologies (e.g. pharma and medical devices).
  • Regulation systems of health technologies.
  • Funding and reimbursement policies of health technologies.
  • Market Access.
  • Principles of economic evaluation analysis of health technologies.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand the innovation process in the pharmaceutical/medical device industry.
  • Understand the impact of medical technologies on healthcare systems and organizations, patients' health and on society at large.
  • Understand how the relevant markets are regulated and how companies work to market their products.
  • Understand how the governments decide whether or not to fund technological innovations and how this impacts on to the levels of innovation of the health technology industry.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to assess technological innovations in the healthcare sector.
  • Interpret the behaviour and the decision-making process of governments in different jurisdictions and in the real world through the lenses of the key objectives these governments have to achieve.
  • Develop value-based market access strategies to market innovative products.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments


  • Guest speakers' talks: some lectures are held by professors or practicioners who are leading experts on the topic treated in the lecture. This allows students to learn additional insights from experts who have actively contributed either to the scientific literature on a certain topic or to the development of real-world practice in certain areas.
  • Exercises: some lectures aim at providing students with technical skills. The use of exercises in class aims at faciliting the learning process and give to the students an immediate feedback of their level of understanding.
  • Case studies/Incidents: some lectures start through the presentation of a real-world incident aimed at suscitating a debate among the students and the instructors. Similarly, case-studies are often used by instructors to enlighten the real-world impacts and implications of what learnt in class.
  • Group assignments: students are asked to run a group work which aims at testing the students' capacity to use their technical skills for strategic purposes. The assignment is explained in the first part of the course and the students, split into small groups, delivers it at the very end of the course. 

Assessment methods

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


With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment is based on three main components:

  • In-class participation (10% of the final grade) aimed to test the students’ ability to interact in a constructive way and to think critically.
  • Group assignment (40% of the final grade) aimed to test:
    • Students' ability to use technical concepts learnt in class for strategic purposes.
    • Students' capacity to work in team and to allocate tasks and time efficiently and effectively.
  • Written exam (50% of the final grade), consisting of open questions aimed to assess students’ ability to describe and critically discuss the analytical tools illustrated during the course. The exam also includes short statements to discuss, aimed to assess students’ ability to articulate economic reasoning and to evaluate the potential effects of health policies on the healthcare sectors and industries.


With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment is based on a written, open-ended questions exam.

Teaching materials


Reading materials are made available through Bboard at the beginning of the course.

Last change 16/06/2019 20:47