Staff profile - Jennifer Watts

Staff image

Ms Jennifer Watts

Position: Senior Lecturer In Health Economics
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Health & Soc. Dev.
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 924 46478 +61 3 924 46478



Jennifer Watts is a Senior Lecturer in Health Economics in Deakin University’s School of Health & Social Development, where she is heads Deakin’s Health Economics teaching programs.  Over the past 18 years she has established a strong record in health economics, in both teaching and research. 

Her research is in the economics of chronic disease and includes: cost and quality of life assessment in osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease; economic evaluation of disease management programs; economic evaluation alongside clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease and acute rehabilitation; and acute care funding policy (for example activity-based funding and vouchers).  Her commitment to research in health economics has emphasized policy-important questions that can be translated to the delivery of efficient healthcare programs for people with chronic disease.

Her research has had significant influence in several policy areas including the determination of DRG weights for Victorian funding policy, hospital efficiency, funding for prosthetic devices and has led to practice change in Medibank’s betterhealth chronic disease management program for insured members.  She has consulted to government departments on hospital costing, efficiency and productivity measurement, the impact of ageing on hospital costs and participated in the Senate inquiry into public hospital funding.  Her work on alternative funding arrangements for health care delivery, hospital efficiency and funding for acute care has been presented at both national and international conferences.


Australian Health Economics Society (Treasurer)

International Health Economics Association

Professional activities

Advisory roles (committees, conference organization): Treasurer, Australian Health Economics Society (2005 onwards); Organizing Committee, 2013 World Congress on Health Economics; Organizing Committee, Annual Australian Conference of Health Economists, 2004-onwards, International Research Alliance between Monash Centre for Health Economics and Newcastle University Business School (Health Economics); Convener and organizer of international workshop on ‘Valuing Health’ 2008-2012; Health Economics Advisor to the National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance for “Evidence-based practice guidelines for the assessment of absolute cardiovascular disease risk”, 2009; Member, Ministerial Rural Health Advisory Group – Clinical Sub Committee Panel, Victorian Department of Human Services, Rural Health Unit 1999-2000.


Subjects and units currently teaching

Course Director - Master of Health Economics


HSH717 Health Economics 1

HSH763 Fianncing Healthcare

HSH766 Economics and Health Policy Analysis


Natasha Brusco, “Do additional allied health services for rehabilitation reduce patient length of stay without compromising patient outcomes?”, with Prof Nick Taylor (Primary Supervisor) and A/Prof Nora Shields, LaTrobe University, since Sept 2010.

PHD Supervison (current)

Renata Morello, “Health services research – exploring the use of alternative methodologies for evaluating health services”, with Prof Just Stoelwinder (Primary Supervisor), and Dr Anna Barker, Monash University, since Sept 2011.


Research interests

Economics of chronic disease

  • osteoporosis
  • Parkinson disease
  • acute rehabilitation
  • chronic disease management
  • information in chronic disease

Health funding policy

  • acute care
  • funding models for chronic disease



Selected Publications (since 2011):
1. Watts JJ, Abimanyi-Ochom J, Sanders KM (2013). Osteoporosis costing all Australians: A new burden of disease analysis - 2012 to 2022 [ISBN 978-0-9923698-0-4] Australia: Osteoporosis Australia [Report].

2. Brusco NK, Watts JJ, Shields N, Taylor NF ‘Are weekend inpatient rehabilitation services value for money? An economic evaluation alongside a randomized controlled trial with a 30 day follow up’ BMC Medicine (Accepted April 24th 2014).

3. Brusco NK, Watts JJ, Shields N, Taylor NF (2014) ‘Does providing additional inpatient rehabilitation help people return to work? A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial’, Clinical Rehabilitation Vol. 28(8): 754-761.

4. Brusco N, Taylor N, Watts JJ, Shields N. (2014). ‘Economic evaluation of adult rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in a variety of settings’, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 95(1): 94-116.e4.

5. Peiris CL, Shields N, Brusco NK, Watts JJ & Taylor NF (2013) ‘Additional Saturday rehabilitation improves functional independence and quality of life and reduces length of stay: a randomized controlled trial’, BMC Medicine 11:198. (Featured article with special commentary).

6. Morello R, Barker A, Haines T, Zavarsek S, Watts JJ, Hill K, Brand C, Sherrington C, Wolfe R, Bohensky M, Stoelwinder J. (2013). “In-hospital falls and fall-related injuries: A protocol for a cost of fall study”, Injury Prevention 19(5): 363. (Inj Prev doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040706).

7. Soh SE, McGinley JL, Watts JJ, Iansek R, Murphy AT, Menz HB, Huxham F, Morris ME, (2013). "Determinants of health-related quality of life in people with Parkinson's disease: A path analysis", Quality of Life Research, 22(7): 1543-53. (doi:10.1007/s11136-012-0289-1).

8. Morris ME, Martin C, McGinley JL, Huxham FE, Menz HB, Taylor NF, Danoudis M, Watts JJ, Soh SE, Evans AH, Horne M & Kempster P (2012). “Protocol for a home-based integrated physical therapy program to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease”, BMC Neurology 2012, 12:54 (doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-54).

9. Kelly D, McGinley JL, Huxham F, Menz HB, Watts JJ, Iansek R, Murphy AT, Danoudis M, Adair B, Morris ME, (2012) “Health-related quality of life and strain in caregivers of Australians with Parkinson's disease: An observational study” BMC Neurology. July 2012, 12:57.

10. Soh SE, McGinley JL, Watts JJ, Iansek R, Morris ME (2012). “Rural living and health-related quality of life in Australians with Parkinson's disease”, Journal of Rural and Remote Health 12(2158), (

11. Morello R, Barker A, Zavarsek S, Watts JJ, Haines T, Hill K, Sherrington C, Brand C, Jolley D & Stoelwinder J (2012). ‘The 6-PACK programme to decrease fall and fall-related injuries in acute hospitals: protocol for an economic evaluation alongside a cluster randomised controlled trial, Injury Prevention 18(2) (10.1136/injuryprev-2011-040302).

12. Watts JJ, Jolley D, Wainer J & Atchison R (2012). ‘Improving the efficiency of telephone-based DM programs: Getting the population and the timing right using hospital admission data’ Population Health Management 15(6), 331-7.

13. Soh S, McGinley JL, Watts JJ, Iansek R & Morris ME (2012) ‘Health-related quality of life of Australians with Parkinson’s disease: A comparison with international studies’ Physiotherapy Canada Issue No1, p.1.

Link to publications

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