Australian Health Economics Society

Affiliated with iHEA

Welcome to AHES

Welcome to the website for the Australian Health Economics Society Inc.

The field of health economics in Australia is dynamic and growing. Not only does it attract a great deal of interest and attention from Universities, Governments, and public and private funders and providers of services, it also has a key role in contributing to health policy and evidence based practice in the health system. Health economics researchers and practitioners in Australia have a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and this diversity is reflected in the Australian Health Economics Society.

Although it is a relatively young academic field, health economics has a very significant history in Australia. AHES was established in the late 1970s through the efforts of economists at the Australian National University, most notably Professor John Deeble. After a one day conference for economists interested in health, the Australian Health Economists Group was formed, which went on to become the Australian Health Economics Society in 1984. This makes AHES one of the longest established health economics associations internationally.  Even before that, health economists had had a significant impact on the landscape of health policy in Australia, with a seminal paper by John Deeble and Dick Scotton published in 1968 in the Australian Economic Review.  This paper was fundamental in the formation of Medibank, the original architecture of Australia’s universal health insurance scheme. The current DRG system and hospital funding arrangements, as well as the key role of health technology assessment in reimbursement decisions through PBAC and MSAC are other areas where the contribution of health economists has been very important.

Health economics in Australia is practiced and taught in a growing number of locations and settings, including government, universities, health service providers, consultancy firms and health-related industry. Please see our Education section for information about courses and our Research section for more information on health economics research centres in Australia.

The field of health economics has also become much broader over the past few decades. As a fundamental component of an efficient and effective health care system, health economics research and analysis now makes important contributions to policy, planning and cost effective care by:

  • Adding valuable information about factors that contribute to and explain health behaviours, health care choices and the health and wellbeing outcomes of the population;
  • Enhancing other health research via concomitant research in the understanding of factors that drive individual decisions in health, on the best ways to fund and provide new services, and on understanding the health system architecture, including funding and delivery arrangements and incentives for efficient and equitable provision of services.

Health economics draws on economic theory, applied micro-econometrics, applied welfare economics, behavioural economics, epidemiology and pharmacoeconomics. Practitioners of health economics include theoretical and applied economists, econometricians as well as researchers and clinicians who undertakehealth services research. AHES has also grown in membership, with a growing number of Australian and international health economics PhD graduates now choosing to engagein research and practice in Australia.  This is recognised in the Australian Health Economics Research Prize which is awarded bi-annually to the best paper in health economics by Australian based researchers.