5 Areas of Research for a Health Policy Student

Potential Areas of Health Policy Research Students Should Know About

  • Health Decision Science
  • Health Economics
  • Health Care Management
  • Political Policy
  • Quality and Access

The areas of research available to health policy students are numerous, but five stand out from the crowd. Since health care policy is known for being a difficult issue in America, the study behind how and why it works is more important than ever according to The New York Times. Here are five areas of focus that students should keep in mind if they are working towards a degree in this field.

Resource: Top 20 Online Health Policy Master’s Degree Programs 2017-2018

1. Health Decision Science

Health Decision Science is one of the main areas of focus for a student in this field. It lends itself well to white papers and projects because the field focuses on policies of public health and how it can affect not only society but the individual as well. It differs from other areas of focus because instead of specializing in new and emerging technologies, decision science is committed to making better choices with currently available information. Health decision science considers all factors and all outcomes of current policy in the realm of healthcare, making it a great subfield for any professional.

2. Health Economics

Similar in many ways to health decision science, health economics is another area of focus that chooses to consider economic factors and its effects on society. Factors covered by this focus include healthcare costs, rising premiums, emergency care, government subsidies for healthcare markets in different regions, and more. These factors are weighed by students, who then create reports to demonstrate how the current healthcare market and any changes in the future could, and have, impacted the economy. Policy is also taken into consideration, including regulations and laws at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

3. Health Care Management

It might come as a surprise to see health care management listed as a potential area of focus for a student in this field, but there’s a good reason for it. Most of healthcare management protocol and procedure comes directly from policy formed by the Department of Health and federal regulators; this means that policy has a direct impact on how both public and private healthcare facilities operate. When management goes astray, the consequences can be detrimental to society, so students who major in policy for public health are often the best candidates to study health care management at the policy level.

4. Political Policy

Political policy remains a major area of focus for most students in this field. Since policy is crafted through the US government, political policy must be taken into account when discussing the health care system in this country, as agencies and departments are susceptible to the political climate and administration of the time.  Students will often study the current policies in place and do a historical comparison with past policies in order to write papers to highlight the differences. It is also common for students to build papers based on the political policy that shows how it has both benefited and hindered the health care system in the country.

5. Quality and Access

A final area of focus for healthcare policy students in this particular field is quality and access; that is, the quality of the healthcare available to the public and how much access they have to it. Because the current health care system is undergoing change at the federal level, this particular field will become of great interest to politicians, health care policy advisors, the government, and society. Students in this area will often study the differences in quality and access across states and regions. They will also study the key interest on how health care quality and access changes from major metropolitan cities and rural areas.

Health care policy remains one of the biggest societal issues in America. Without consensus on how health care should work, and with policy changing with subsequent administrations, it’s never been more important to find professionals who delve deep into this area. With these five areas of research for a health policy student, professionals can learn what makes health care policy tick and what happens when they try to change it; hopefully, for the better.