As the healthcare industry becomes more concerned with reducing the amount of waste associated with their resources, the role of health economist is becoming increasingly important for ensuring medical facilities become more economically efficient. Since the downturn of the economy has a large impact on the decision-making process for the executives of healthcare organizations, health economists are given the responsibility of using the awareness of economic trends to keep profitability high.
If you are interested in combining your knowledge in business with health policy or public health, the following is an overview on what health economists do and how you can break into this rewarding career path.
Health Economist Job Description
Health economists are vital healthcare professionals who are given the task of investigating how resources should be used and distributed in healthcare to maintain optimal efficiency. Health economists apply the theories of production, efficiency, disparities, regulation, and competition to better inform healthcare organizations on the most equitable course of action. Working both in the public and private sector, health economists are specially trained to apply these tools of economic evaluation to healthcare markets, healthcare programs, public health policies, and healthcare interventions. Apart from working in hospital settings, health economists are commonly found in universities, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, government agencies, consultancy firms, and public health local or international organizations.
Daily Duties for Health Economists
Due to the fact that health economists can be found in various sectors, their daily duties are highly dependent on their place of employment. In public health, health economists may focus their time on applying economic principles to select the most economically efficient way to vaccinate the public for a specific flu strain or determine whether prevention is cheaper than a cure for a disease. Health economists may also be involved in projecting the economic impact of epidemics, advocating for further funding to disease research, or studying the costs associated with cancer screenings. According to the International Health Economics Association, health economists usually serve as experts providing policymakers with the advice needed to make cost-effective decisions regarding public health.
Requirements for Becoming a Health Economist
While becoming a health economist usually requires a bachelor’s degree in economics at the very minimum, the competitiveness of the field usually requires an advanced graduate degree. Since health economists must possess comprehensive knowledge on political science, economics, international relations, health policy management, biostatistics, epidemiology, and public health issues, it is typically suggested that students pursue a master’s degree in health economics, economics, healthcare management, health policy, or public health for the best career opportunities. In order to be successful at spending a great deal of time researching, health economists must also fine-tune their mathematical and analytical skills to understand complex economic concepts.
If you have an analytical mind and an interest in improving the state of public health, a career in health economics will probably prove to be an exciting option. Not only is the median annual salary of $91,860 an extremely pleasing aspect of the job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicates that the need for qualified economists in the healthcare industry is growing faster than average for all occupations due to increased demand for medical services. Therefore, it is an excellent time for you get on the right track to pursuing a career as a health economist to alleviate the problems faced in promoting health for all.