Field Course: Transforming Health Care Delivery - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Field Course: Transforming Health Care Delivery

Course Number 6219

Professor Robert S. Huckman
Visiting Professor Amitabh Chandra (Harvard Kennedy School)
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 sessions
Enrollment limited to 35 students

The 3-credit Field Course: Transforming Health Care Delivery includes 14 class sessions during Q1 plus project-based sessions during Q2 to plan, conduct field work, present team project results, and give and receive feedback.

A 1.5 -credit version of this course-which includes only the 14 in-class sessions in Q1 and and exam-is offered as Transforming Health Care Delivery (course number 2195).

At the root of the transformation occurring in the health care industry-both in the United States and internationally-is the fundamental challenge of improving clinical outcomes while controlling costs. Addressing this challenge will require dramatic improvements in the process by which care is delivered to patients. This will involve changing the organization of delivery, the measurement of outcomes, and the way in which providers are paid. This course will equip students with the tools required to design and implement these improvements.

Career Focus

This course is appropriate for students interested in understanding and addressing the challenges facing health care delivery. These students may have career interests in organizations that provide health care or in firms that partner with, supply, consult to, or invest in such organizations. The 3-credit, field option is appropriate for students who wish to apply course concepts and frameworks to a current challenge facing a delivery organization.

Educational Objectives

This course will help students develop the managerial skills required to identify and implement change. It will draw upon a range of approaches for improving healthcare delivery, including the value-based health care framework, continuous improvement, organizational redesign, population health management, precision medicine, patient engagement, and payment reform. For each of these approaches, the course will emphasize the importance of identifying improvement targets, implementing relevant changes, and measuring their effects on performance. For students selecting the 3-credit option, the course will also provide an opportunity to engage in an improvement project for a Boston-based delivery organization.

Course Content and Organization

This course includes 14 in-class sessions during Q1 with a Q2 field project in lieu of an exam. Though the course is scheduled to meet from 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM, several of the class sessions during Q1 will end by 2:45 PM. The in-class sessions during Q1 will be organized into three modules:

  1. Designing for Value-Based Health Care
  2. Implementing Value Improvement
  3. Rethinking Care Delivery

Q2 will involve completion of a Boston-based field project in small teams. The course will not have required in-class sessions for most of Q2. Students will have the flexibility to use the reserved class time (or alternative times) for meeting with their project teams or sponsors. There will be one introductory class at the beginning of Q2 and up to three class sessions at the end of Q2 for project presentations. Otherwise, teams will be free to work on their projects according to their own schedule. Project sponsors will include hospitals, other providers, and health care services or IT firms directly serving delivery organizations. Projects will be sourced for students by the faculty. With faculty approval, student teams may also choose to complete a qualified project that they have sourced themselves.