eE Embedded Sites

The first component of the eE program is the embedding or situating of a health economist within a health organisation for around 3 months.


Managers and staff within these organisations can connect with the economist at their site by attending capacity building workshops & presentations focused on health economics & evaluation topics nominated by them and/or having a meeting & receiving advice.

They can also engage more deeply to co-produce a larger project by applying health economics & evaluation principles & tools to improve the value of their program, service, initiative or technology.



With funding from the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund, the embedded Economist Program is being implemented in six project sites.

Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network – A case study

From October 2020 to February 2021, HMRI Health Economist Professor Andrew Searles was embedded in Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network.

The eE Program has successfully embedded economic evaluation skills at the local level. Outcomes at the HNECCPHN include staff capacity in justifying new programs via developing business cases; and measuring the feasibility, cost, value and impact of existing PHN programs. The development of these skills will not only inform decision making about the particular programs they were applied to, but also the value of future programs within the HNECCPHN footprint.

For example, the embedded Economist trained staff in how to conduct an impact assessment and evaluation for the Medical Practice Assistant program (MPA Program). More details about the MPA Program and the value added by the embedded Economist are set out in the videos below.

HNECC PHN embedded Economist projects


Upskilling GP Admin Staff

A business case and an impact assessment (including a  cost consequence component) was needed to  examine the relative costs and benefits associated with program impacts, such as the time saved by Registered Nurses in conducting tasks which can now be performed by MPAs who have a lower salary and changes in work satisfaction across different job roles. Staff were trained in impact assessment and costing; and how to determine the best method of evaluation.


Rural Communities & Trusted Advocate Projects

The Rural Communities project is a community engagement initiative to assist primary care in areas affected by drought. The Trusted Advocate Project is an intervention in Scone, where the PHN provided training to selected people in the community who were often approached by community members seeking advice/referral. The eE Worked with staff to identify how best to evaluate these initiatives and to build staff capacity to conduct impact assessments.


Healthy Weight Evaluation Project

The Healthy Weight program seeks to address overweight & obesity in our communities, with potential impacts on downstream chronic disease. The eE worked with PHN staff to ensure optimal implementation of this model of care: i.e. Is the Healthy Weight program cost effective? Can it be financially viable from a PHN and GP perspective? How will households engage?


Central Coast Diabetes Alliance Cost Study

Modifications in service delivery were made to more cost-efficiently provide diabetes care on the Central Coast. A feasibility study of a new model of care was designed and implemented to identify: How much does it cost to deliver the new model of care? Is it more expensive than the previous model? Is it more effective than the previous model?


Co-Producing an Organisation-Wide Impact Assessment Framework

The PHN increasingly needed to demonstrate ‘value for money’ & therefore needs an organisation-wide approach to measure the impact of its programs. This project aims to integrate & build organisational capacity in applying the FAIT Impact Assessment Framework. 


GP Fracture Prevention Cost Study

A new GP initiative was developed to improve the identification & management of patients with osteoporosis. Assistance was needed to identify how much it cost? And what outcomes need to be measured to evaluate the project?

A testimonial from an eE Program participant

I was fortunate enough to work with the embedded Economists, developing a cost consequence analysis for the Diabetes Case Conferencing Pilot Program.

The knowledge and skills I learnt have been applied to my current position; assisting in the implementation of Telehealth across CCLHD.

Specifically, watching and learning as the embedded Economist and I constructed an economic model within excel, gave me the confidence to build a Telehealth Equipment Costing Model.

The model has been well received by the Project Manager and will be invaluable to the handover/succession plan should any of the team members be returned back to their substantive roles.

I would never have been able to develop such an important piece of work had it not been for the embedded Economist program. I can confirm that the program has increased my capacity. Thank you.

Deb Sullivan

Project Officer, Central Coast Alliance