The organization of the health care system


The aims of the course are to enable students to reflect on the organization of health services in Portugal and to recognize the key areas in the management of health services.

At the end of the sessions, the students should be able to:

·         Describe the framework of the Portuguese health care system and of its National Health Service (NHS);

·         Identify the differences between levels of care and realize how they are organized;

·         Explain how the central services of the Ministry of Health are organized;

·         Define the key concepts of healthcare management in the context of health information systems, financing, patient classification systems and performance assessment.

·         Recognize the importance of organization and management of health services for the management of clinical research.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof. Doutor Paulo Alexandre Faria Boto (ENSP)


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language

Portuguese or English




·         Burns LR, Bradley EH, Weiner BJ.  Shortell and Kaluzny´s Health Care Management, organization design and behavior, sixth edition.  Clyfton Park, NY: Delmar, CENAGE Learning, 2012.

·         Mintzberg H, Lampel J, Quinn JB, Ghoshal S. The strategy process: concepts, contexts, cases. 4th edition. New York: Pearson Education; 2003.

·         Robert G, Cornwell J, Locock L, Purushotham A, Sturmey G, Gager M. Patients and staff as codesigners of healthcare services.BMJ. 2015 Feb 10;350:g7714. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7714.

Teaching method

The teaching methodology is varied, including:

·         Theoretical and practical sessions, starting with a short presentation by the faculty, followed by discussion of topics related to the subject;

·         Seminars with invited guests, for further discussion of specific issues;

·         Tutorials, with reading and analysis of selected texts.

Evaluation method

Student assessment will include a strong continuous component (40%), based on student participation, particularly in the discussion of topics in the sessions, and an individual final test (60%), in the form of an essay on one of the program’s topics.

Subject matter

Part I - The Portuguese health care system.

Health systems and international health; Changing needs in health; Structure and organization of the NHS; Organization of the Ministry of Health.

Part II - Organization of care: theory and implementation.

Organization and structure of primary health care; Organization and structure of hospital care (public and private); Organization and structure of long term care and the social sector; Integrated care; Structure and trends of the drugs market.

Part III - Organization of central services.

The organization of services in the NHS: the ACSS; the ARS; INFARMED; INEM; DGS.

Part IV - Organization and management tools.

Patient classification systems; Healthcare financing; Performance assessment of health care organizations; Health information systems.


Programs where the course is taught: