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About Study Course

Department: Department of Public Health and Epidemiology
Credit points / ECTS:4 / 6
Course supervisor:Dins Šmits
Study type:Full time
Course level:Master's
Target audience:Information and Communication Science
Branch of science:Medicine; Public Health


The course introduces the fundamental values of health policy, health and healthcare systems in the world and in Latvia, goals and strategies of health systems, the most important international framework documents and charters regulating health policy. The course deals with the principles of healthcare organization and management at the macro, meso and micro levels. The course introduces the hierarchy of health legislation, the practical aspects of policy and decision-making activities and key stakeholders in government, industry and the third sector. The course covers the principles and regulations of healthcare financing in Latvia, as well as types of public procurement and healthcare providers, including international cooperation. The course introduces the ways various services are procured and providers remunerated on organisation or individual level, highlighting the economic drivers of each of these. The course addresses quality assurance and health information flow management. It provides an insight into the methods of economic evaluation in healthcare. The course offers an overview of new trends in health systems – integrated care concept, healthcare developments provided by information and communication technologies. The aim of the course is to develop students' knowledge, skills and competence on topics of healthcare organization, politics and financing in Latvia and worldwide.


Basics of market economy; basics of management; basics of public health; English language skills; computer and internet skills.

Learning outcomes


• Outline internationally accepted core values that form a basis for health policy; key international and Latvian health policy documents which are based on these values. List examples of the most important health policy and strategic documents.
• Define the health system, name its tasks and principles of classification.
• Explain insurance in health care.
• List the healthcare funding systems in the world.
• Describe the health system of Latvia according to the international classification.
• Distinguish between the features of health economics and the regularities of general economy.
• Explain the methods of economic analysis of health costs.
• Name healthcare levels and organisational structure in Latvia.
• Describe and evaluate the procurement principles and payment for services.
• Enumerate business forms in health care in Latvia.
• Name regulatory acts related to health care in Latvia, including the regulation of patients’ rights.
• Outline the organisation and management of the health information system in Latvia.
• Explain the healthcare quality system. Differentiate between the quality assurance and control.


• Explain the internationally accepted core values, on which health policy is based.
• Assess the relevance of national health systems to these core values.
• Assess the advantages and disadvantages of global health financing systems.
• Interpret the trends of reform in Latvia and in the world.
• Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of the procurement mechanisms for services with regard to the cost structure of healthcare services and needs for them.
• Assess the failures of market economy in health care. Explain the need for the use of key analyses of health economics.
• Explain the healthcare quality system.


• Analyse the compliance of health policy and documents reflecting it with internationally recognised core values.
• Critically assess the usefulness and validity of health systems and their reforms.
• Critically assess and use data of health service costs obtained through economic analysis of literature.
• Discuss the optimisation of organisation and management of health care in Latvia. Assess the role of primary health care in health care system.
• Interpret the quality system of health care in Latvia.
• Explain the achievements, challenges and tasks of organisation of health care in Latvia to the general public.

Study course planning

Planning period:Year 2021, Autumn semester
Study programmeStudy semesterProgram levelStudy course categoryLecturersSchedule
Health Communication, VKM3Master’sRequiredĢirts Briģis, Dzintars Mozgis, Dins Šmits, Daiga Behmane, Irisa Zīle-Velika, Jana Feldmane