Our aim is to anticipate emerging issues and to deliver actionable research findings and insights to health care policy-makers, funders and providers.
Evaluating sustainable service models and innovations
We specialise in partnering with health system collaborators to undertake pragmatic, real-world evaluations of the cost, impacts and long-term sustainability of new and innovative service models. Current evaluations include assessing the costs, impacts and sustainability of telehealth access to medical specialists in rural urgent care centres; modelling the likely costs and impacts of different approaches to meeting the population-based need for bariatric surgery in Australia; examining the impact of market concentration and monopoly in Australian private health insurance; and examining international evidence on the factors driving the growth or emergency department attendances worldwide.
The economics of health data and digital health
Great excitement and expectations have been placed in hopes that the informational technologies embodied in ‘digital health’, ‘big data’ and artificial intelligence will be transformative for health care systems, yet little economic evidence exists in these areas. We seek to advance understanding of the economics of the digital health ‘revolution’ to fill in these gaps. Current projects include developing and trialling a framework by which healthcare funders and providers might select and recommend digital health apps to consumers; supporting the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare as it develops a new National Health Information Strategy; and scoping the relationship between the costs of information and the costs of health care services.
Sustainable health systems in the Anthropocene era
We are one of the only teams of health economists in the world working on the implications for health care systems of climate change, the wider ecological crisis, and the encroaching Anthropocene era. We use traditional health economics methods alongside approaches drawn from ecological economics to investigate the macro policy responses that healthcare systems will need to adopt to mitigate and to adapt to environmental and climate change. Current work includes developing frameworks to understand the joint harms to both patients and the planet from the overuse of health care; how best to incorporate environmental harms and externalities within the economic evaluation of health care; and work on the organisation and financing of health care in a post-growth era.
Brief examples of our more recent work spanning these areas of research include:
Hensher M. (2019) A beginner’s guide to avoiding bad policy mistakes in the Anthropocene. In: Orr CJ, Kish K and Jennings B (eds) Liberty and the ecological crisis: freedom on a finite planet. Abingdon: Routledge, 207-219.
Hensher M. (2020a) Anthropocene health economics: preparing for the journey or the destination? In: Zywert K and Quilley S (eds) Health in the Anthropocene: living well on a finite planet. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 107-139.
Economics of health system financing and sustainability research stream staff