Managing Medicine - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Managing Medicine

Course Number 2195

Professor of Management Practice Richard M. J. Bohmer

Winter, Q3, 1.5 credits
14 sessions
Enrollment limited to 20 students

A 3-credit version of this course is offered as Field Course: Managing Medicine (course number 6219 in Q3Q4.)

The U.S. healthcare market is currently undergoing widespread change. New technologies and healthcare delivery models, coupled with increasing consumer empowerment will ultimately revolutionize healthcare delivery. However, for entrepreneurs and healthcare managers alike, this is a particularly challenging market because of its complexity, fragmented structure and large number of constituencies. In order for managers to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery, or successfully launch new services or products, they must understand the design and management of healthcare operations. Many healthcare innovations ultimately fail because they neither integrate with existing clinical processes, nor successfully create new ones. The course will examine the unique characteristics of the care delivery process in order to help students identify opportunities for innovation and develop the management skills needed to design and implement operational and technologic change in healthcare.

Career Focus

The course is aimed primarily at those students who are contemplating a career in the healthcare industry. It will be equally valuable for students planning a career with organizations that supply innovations to the delivery sector, such as device and pharmaceutical companies, and those interested in managing healthcare delivery. Those planning to work for organizations that serve these two constituencies, such as consultants and healthcare venture capitalists will also be helped by the course. Because we focus on innovation and change, the course will help healthcare entrepreneurs understand how to execute their ideas. Although the course uses material primarily drawn from the U.S. healthcare sector, it addresses issues relevant to all healthcare systems.

Educational Objectives

The course aims to give students an understanding of the complex interaction between science, medicine, healthcare delivery and the practice of management. It will discuss the way this interaction influences the choice of appropriate system design, and improvement, and marketing strategies. It will enable students to take leadership positions in healthcare organizations and new ventures. The course is designed to expose students to some of the new management research in the healthcare field and will build upon the ongoing research of HBS faculty. It is intended to complement other healthcare courses by looking closely at healthcare delivery to understand how new innovations are adopted by patients and healthcare professionals.

Course Content and Organization

The course will cover several major areas:

  1. the fundamental nature of the health care process,
  2. the design, management and improvement of health care processes,
  3. evaluation of new health care delivery models, and,
  4. evaluation of strategies promoting technology adoption in health care.

As part of the course requirement students will be asked to complete a paper describing an important issue or dilemma faced by a healthcare manager or entrepreneur and the appropriate response.