Health system financing in a digital world: Can data create a perfect health system?


Recognition of prior learning with our education partners

150 hours


What is this about?

How do we count, measure and pay for health in a modern, digital world? This course examines how health financing systems work by comparing and contrasting different models and analysing the advantages and disadvantages of each. The course then explores health informatics and the basic data elements required for a successful digital health system.

On successful completion of this course you will have the skills to:

  • Critically analyse who should pay for health from different perspectives;
  • Examine the differences between the health market and other consumer markets:
  • Examine the factors involved in health insurance (patient, government, employer);
  • Compare community rating and risk rating;
  • Compare and contrast different health systems (Australia, UK, Netherlands, Middle East, Thailand, Indonesia);
  • Compare and contrast advantages and disadvantages of doctor payment methods (including fee-for-service, capitation, salary and performance based payment models);
  • Understand why health financing systems need to be home grown to fit the sociopolitical environment in which they exist;
  • Identify key features of successful, mature health systems that are consistent across all payment models;
  • Identify the different code sets and classification systems and explain what they are and how to choose the right one for a health system;
  • Develop a basic understanding of the operation of the pharmaceutical industry, including branded vs generic drugs;
  • Develop a basic understanding of health informatics and the importance of robust digital design in all modern health systems.

Who wrote this course?

Margaret Faux

Margaret Faux is a Lawyer who specialises in Medicare and Health Insurance Law. She is also a Registered Nurse and has been involved in medical billing for over 30 years. Margaret is the Founder and CEO of an international medical administration company, Synapse Medical Services, which operates one of the largest medical billing services in Australia. She is a published PhD researcher on the topic of Medicare claiming and compliance and is completing her doctorate at the University of Technology. Margaret’s company works in multiple health systems around the world including having been appointed by a Government body in India to advise on a project mapping the legal framework of India’s health system. Margaret is a regular presenter on the topic of Medicare claiming and compliance and the operation of health financing systems, has made numerous appearances on radio to discuss Medicare issues, and is regularly asked to comment in relation to Australian health sector reform. She also contributes regularly to medical media including contributing to Australian Doctor and Medical Observer as well as being a regular contributor to the Croakey Health Blog. Margaret is also a guest lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, in the Faculty of Health and her publications are available at this link

Time Commitment:

150 hours, self-paced



Mode of Delivery:


Short online courses and weekend intensive attendance programs.


Online quizzes, an annotated bibliography, an exam and a group capstone project.

Credit Points:

Successful completion of this course may attract recognition of prior learning with our education partners. The course meets the standard of an equivalent 3 credit points


A pre-requisite for this course is prior completion of (or current enrolment in) a graduate level award

The compulsory reading materials are:

  1. The World Health Report, Health Systems Financing, The Path to Universal Coverage, WHO 2010 – read the complete report
  2. Power, Politics and Universal Healthcare, Stuart Altman and David Schactman – Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11
  3. In Search of the Perfect Health System, Mark Britnell. Part 1: South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, Part 2: Israel & South Africa, Part 3: The Netherlands, France, England, Part 4: Canada & The U.S.
  4. The Health Gap, Sir Michael Marmot – Chapters 1-6
  5. Introduction to Health Economics, Guinness L & Wiseman V, 2011 – Section 4: Health care financing
  6. Portfolios of the Poor: How the world’s poor live on $2 a day, Daryl Collins – read from the beginning and read as much as you can

Additional reading materials will be provided for those who wish to extend their learning.

The online component of the course consists of six, short, self-paced modules. The time frame for each module is approximately one hour excluding quizzes. The modules are:

  1. Who pays for health?
  2. Pricing health insurance products
  3. Brands vs Generics: Myth or Fact?
  4. Too many codes: Disease codes, billing codes, procedure codes. Which is what?
  5. Health data specification basics
  6. Introduction to information models and terminology