HECOR Curriculum

Xavier’s online master’s degree program in health economics and clinical outcomes research is designed to prepare you for a successful career with strong skills in statistics, health outcomes and economics and population health. It concludes with a capstone project that will allow you to demonstrate a working knowledge of the skills you have learned in your coursework.

The MS HECOR program at Xavier University is a rigorous and challenging program that prepares its students to use data and statistical analysis to better understand trends in health care and propose solutions to problems that arise in the US Healthcare system. Not only have I been challenged academically, but I have also learned and honed new skills that have made me a more well-rounded individual.

Michelle U., student

Required Coursework

Core Courses (9 credit hours):

  • HECO 571 Intro to HECOR
  • HECO 567 Applied Epidemiology
  • HECO 585 Health Ethics in Informatics and Research

The core courses will expose you to a general overview of HECOR. They introduce a number of contemporary approaches to comparative effectiveness research and economic evaluation. You will be introduced to epidemiologic concepts, skills and data, the application of epidemiology to population health and health services, and to the application of epidemiologic literature in health services. The core courses conclude with a foundation of basic ethical theory and its application to HECOR.

Statistics & Analytics (10 credit hours):

  • HECO 521 Intro to Statistics for HECOR
  • HECO 522 Applied Analysis for HECOR I
  • HECO 523: Applied Analysis for HECOR II
  • HECO 601: Intro to Statistical Programming for HECOR

The first course in the statistics block is an introductory statistics course. This foundation is then advanced and deepened in the context of real health-care problems in the next two applied analysis courses. These courses will allow you to focus on using real data and multivariate analyses to address current problems in the health-care field.

Economics and Health-care Systems (8 credit hours):

  • HECO 575 Health Economics
  • HESA 571 Health Care Services in the US
  • HECO 631 Global Health Systems

HECO 575 applies the principles of micro-economics to health and health-care policy. HESA 571 and HECO 631 courses examine the structure of health-care systems, focusing on financing; organization of delivery systems; reimbursement of physicians, hospitals and pharmaceuticals; and adoption of new technologies.

Economic Evaluation and Modeling (6 credit hours):

  • HECO 674 Introduction to Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • HECO 675 Economic Evaluation and Simulation Modeling

Economic evaluation, a core methodological foundation in HECOR, provides a methodological approach to assimilating different costs and health outcomes associated with medical treatments into a common metric that allows one to assess a treatment’s worth in relation to other possible alternatives. The course work examines the different modeling approaches and addresses the uncertainty inherent in these approaches. By the end of this sequence, you will be familiar with the basic types of economic evaluations and will understand what issues should be addressed in performing a sound economic evaluation.

Capstone Courses (6 credit hours):

  • HECO 692 HECOR Capstone I
  • HECO 693 HECOR Capstone II

The capstone courses will allow you to integrate your coursework and apply it to a research question. The emphasis of the capstone sequence is your ability to implement the research process from start to finish on a quantitative analysis in the field of HECOR.

HECOR Online Course Sequence:

Term 1 – Fall
Term 2 – Spring
Term 3 – Summer
Fall Start
  • Intro to HECOR
    HECO 571
  • Intro to Statistics for HECOR
    HECO 521
  • Intro to Statistical Programming for HECOR
    HECO 601
  • Applied Analysis for HECOR I
    HECO 522
  • Health Ethics in Informatics & Research
    HECO 585
  • US Healthcare Services
    HESA 571
  • Applied Analysis for HECOR II
    HECO 523
  • Health Economics
    HECO 575
Spring Start
  • Intro to HECOR
    HECO 571
  • Health Ethics in Informatics & Research
    HECO 585
  • US Healthcare Services
    HESA 571
  • Health Economics
    HECO 575
  • Global Health Systems
    HECO 631

Term 4 – Fall
Term 5 – Spring
Term 6 – Summer
Term 7 – Fall
Fall Start
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
    HECO 674
  • Applied Epidemiology
    HECO 567
  • Economic Evaluation & Simulation Modeling
    HECO 675
  • HECOR Capstone I
    HECO 692
  • Global Health Systems
    HECO 631
  • HECOR Capstone II
    HECO 693
Spring Start
  • Intro to Statistics for HECOR
    HECO 521
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
    HECO 674
  • Intro to Statistical Programming for HECOR
    HECO 601 [
  • Applied Analysis for HECOR I
    HECO 522
  • Economic Evaluation & Simulation Modeling
    HECO 675
  • Applied Analysis for HECOR II
    HECO 523
  • HECOR Capstone I
    HECO 692
  • Applied Epidemiology
    HECO 567
  • HECOR Capstone II
    HESA 693

*Please note that the recommended course sequence is provided for planning purposes only and is subject to change. Please consult the program director.

Course Descriptions

HECO 471/571: Intro to HECOR (3)

This course will expose students to a general overview of health economics and clinical outcomes research (HECOR). The topics covered in this course represent a broad selection of major themes in the field; each topic will provide students with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the field as well as learn how economists, epidemiologists, and statisticians think about and conduct HECOR research.

HECO 521: Intro to Statistics for HECOR (3)

This is the first in a three-course series on applied statistics for health economics and clinical outcomes research. It will provide a detailed overview of descriptive statistics, and will also cover basic inferential statistics using univariate analysis methods. This course will introduce students to the concepts of multivariable and multivariate analysis procedures.

HECO 522: Applied Analysis for HECOR I (3)

This course builds off of HECO 521 and is the second in a three-course series on applied statistics for health economics and clinical outcomes research. This course will delve deeper into multivariate analysis as well as methods to analyze categorical data and non-normally distributed data. A strong emphasis on applied methods of data analysis using the SAS programming software will be present.

HECO 523: Applied Analysis for HECOR II (3)

This course is the third in a three-course series on applied statistics for health economics and clinical outcomes research. It will provide a survey of more advanced statistical methods with a focus on causal inference, i.e. methods designed to address research questions that concern the impact of some potential cause (e.g., a medical intervention, a change in treatment, economic conditions, or policies) on some outcome (e.g., time to event, comorbidity, health-care utilization and expenditures). Students will apply the skills learned in HECO 521 and 522 on a data-analysis project.

HECO 567: Applied Epidemiology (3)

Students will be introduced to epidemiologic concepts, skills, and data; the application of epidemiology to population health and health services; and the application of epidemiologic literature in health services management through an applied project using a health status analysis. Methods to determine risk factors for health problems will be discussed and examined in this project.

HECO 575: Health Economics (3)

This course will examine the application of economic principles to the allocation of scarce resources in health care; the use of economic theory to understand problems of organization, delivery, and financing of health services; and the choices available to society regarding these issues. In this course, we will use methods from microeconomics to investigate how different aspects of the health care system function and to assess the implications for different policies designed to improve that functioning. We will use economic tools and techniques from the sub-disciplines of information economics, industrial organization, labor economics, public economics, behavioral economics, and decision theory to think about these questions.

HESA 571: Health Care Services in the US (2)

This course will focus on fundamental issues of health services in the United States and will provide a solid understanding of the overall structure and components of the system. The course will also allow students to interact with each other and to explore leading health services research and policies. The core course will not generally cover financial analysis, strategic planning, implementation, advocacy, coordination of health delivery, or disaster contingency planning as these are covered elsewhere.

HECO 585: Health Ethics in Informatics and Research (3)

This course is a graduate-level introduction to basic ethical theory, language, and methodology needed to critically examine contemporary cases in HECOR including such topics as health informatics, health data use, patient confidentiality, large-scale data management, fraud, and retrospective analyses. The course will cover the tension of patient-centered vs. population health research, and the use of personal health records for post-market studies. Students will investigate ethical and practical issues by participating in and leading discussions, and written reflective case analysis.

HECO 598: Independent Study (0.5-4)

An independent study course is defined as an area of study or research necessitating a high level of self-directed learning in the field of HECOR. This learning requires students to read, conduct research, or complete written examinations, reports, projects, research papers, portfolios, or similar assignments that are designed to measure competency in the stated educational objectives. Opportunities to enroll in course work on an Independent Study basis are limited. A student interested in this option should complete the Independent Study Registration Form and this syllabus template. The student shall fill in all sections with italicized descriptors. The instructor and program director must approve both documents prior to the student proceeding with the Independent Study.

HECO 601: Intro to Statistical Programming for HECOR (1)

This course will introduce statistical programming for HECOR. Students will learn the basics of a common statistical language and how to conduct simple data programming. This course is designed to give students the universal tools all HECOR practitioners should know when performing statistics with large data sets common to HECOR.

HECO 631: Global Health Systems (3)

This course will examine the structure of health care systems in different countries, focusing on financing; organization of delivery systems; reimbursement of physicians, hospitals and pharmaceuticals; and adoption of new technologies. Students will study the relative roles of private and public sector payers and providers and the effect of system design on cost, quality, efficiency, and equity of medical services.

HECO 674: Intro to Cost-Benefit Analysis (3)

This course will introduce students to the basics of economic evaluations of health care interventions or technology. This value depends not only on how effective a treatment is, but also how costly it is. Economic evaluations provide a method for assimilating different costs and health outcomes associated with medical treatments into a common metric that allows one to assess that treatment’s worth in relation to other possible alternatives. By the end of this course, students should be familiar with the basic types of economic evaluations and should understand what issues should be addressed in performing a sound economic evaluation. Through examples and applications, students should also become familiar with how specific economic evaluations are performed, and what are the major challenges and limitations of these approaches.

HECO 675: Economic Evaluation and Simulation Modeling (3)

This course will introduce the development, methodological approach, and application of quantitative models used to inform health care decisions. The course will emphasize decision trees and Markov models and introduce agent-based modeling techniques. Approaches to uncertainty in the model will be addressed through one-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. The course will consider the application and presentation of the model to stakeholders with an emphasis on the ethical use and proper disclosure of the limitations inherent in the data and methods.

HECO 692: HECOR Capstone I (3)

This course is the first in a two-course series that integrates the specialized disciplines and knowledge learned from previous HECOR courses through the use of case analyses. Students will be challenged to identify the specific research question, methodologies to answer the question, conduct the analysis, and disseminate the results. This course will focus on the how to formulate an answerable research question, query the literature, search for evidence, develop the study design, assemble data, and prepare a research proposal.

HECO 693: HECOR Capstone II (3)

This course is the second in a two-course series that integrates the specialized disciplines and knowledge learned from previous HECOR courses through the use of case analyses. Students will execute their research proposal prepared in HECO 692. The course will emphasize the dissemination of scientific research covering the principles of good scientific writing for publication and peer-review, and will culminate in the development of an abstract and oral presentation of their research.