Health Care

Health Care is a featured research topic and an initiative at Harvard Business School.
Over the past several decades, HBS has built a foundation in health care research, from Clayton Christensen's application of disruptive innovations and Regina Herzlinger's concept of consumer-driven health care to Michael Porter's use of competitive strategy principles. Today our research focuses on 
  • how management principles and best practices from other industries can be applied;
  • how the process of innovation can be improved;
  • how principles of strategy and consumer choice can be utilized;
  • how information technology can expand access, decrease costs, and improve quality;
  • how new approaches in developing nations can impact global health.
  1. Medicine's Continuous Improvement Imperative

    Robert S. Huckman and Ananth Raman

    Maintaining quality and spurring innovation have long been central objectives of the US health care system. Like other health care professionals, physicians are challenged to minimize the likelihood of errors that could harm patients while simultaneously making efforts to understand the causes of illnesses and develop better ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

    Keywords: medicine; continuous improvement; Toyota production system; Alcoa; Health Care and Treatment; Performance Improvement; Health Industry;


    Huckman, Robert S., and Ananth Raman. "Medicine's Continuous Improvement Imperative." JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association 313, no. 18 (May 12, 2015): 1811–1812. View Details
  2. Carolinas HealthCare System: Consumer Analytics

    John A. Quelch and Margaret L. Rodriguez

    In 2014, Dr. Michael Dulin, chief clinical officer for analytics and outcomes research and head of the Dickson Advanced Analytics (DA2) group at Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), successfully unified all analytics talent and resources into one group over a three year period. Rapid increases in computing power and decreases in data storage costs had enabled DA2's data architects to build predictive models incorporating complex clinical, financial, demographic, and claims data that would have been impossible to create only a few years before. However, in 2014, both Apple and Google announced features in their new mobile operating systems that collected and displayed output from various health-wearables (like heart-rate monitors or step-counters), as well as electronic medical record (EMR) data. Their expertise in analytics, access to demographic and location data, as well as large consumer bases, led Dulin to consider which players consumers would trust to integrate their healthcare data in the future and what role DA2 could play.

    Keywords: Consumer segmentation; big data; management information systems; hospital management; Health Care and Treatment; Marketing; Segmentation; Data and Data Sets; Information Management; Information Technology; Health; Health Industry; United States;


    Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Carolinas HealthCare System: Consumer Analytics." Harvard Business School Case 515-060, April 2015. View Details
  3. The I-PASS Patient Handoff Program

    Robert S. Huckman and Michael Norris

    In 2015, the I-PASS Patient Handoff Program Team, led by six pediatricians around the U.S., had to determine the best way to disseminate their program that had been proven to reduce communication errors in patient handoffs in hospital settings. Should they turn it into a standalone business, continue publishing in academic journals, license their content to an established medical vendor, or some combination of these? This case allows students to develop and evaluate approaches to disseminating simple and proven innovations with complex service settings.

    Keywords: health care; Hospitals; operations improvement; entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; United States;


    Huckman, Robert S., and Michael Norris. "The I-PASS Patient Handoff Program." Harvard Business School Case 615-069, March 2015. View Details
  4. Bonitas

    Regina E. Herzlinger and Natalie Kindred

    Bonitas, a South African medical scheme (i.e., health insurer), must navigate highly restrictive regulations that make it difficult for Bonitas to innovate, grow, and compete with market leader Discovery as well as providers of alternative insurance products. Bonitas (HBS No. 315-020) must also plan ahead for the rollout of national health insurance—a deeply politicized issue in a country with great disparities in health care quality and access. How can Bonitas compete today while positioning itself to thrive—and not lose relevance—under a universal public health insurance system?

    Keywords: health insurance; health care; South Africa; medical scheme; public policy; Bonitas; Bonitas Medical Fund; national health insurance; Health; Health Care and Treatment; Insurance; Policy; Health Industry; Insurance Industry; South Africa; Johannesburg; Africa;


    Herzlinger, Regina E., and Natalie Kindred. "Bonitas." Harvard Business School Case 315-020, March 2015. View Details
  5. Twine Health

    Robert S. Huckman, Ariel D. Stern and Matthew G. Preble

    In late 2014, Dr. John Moore (CEO), Frank Moss (chairman), and Scott Gilroy (CTO) of Twine Health (Twine) had to resolve several challenges that threatened to restrict the widespread dissemination of its sole product, Twine. Twine was a cloud-based platform that enabled patients to create and manage chronic disease treatment plans in conjunction with their primary care providers and specialized coaches. Twine had already enjoyed impressive successes in early clinical trials and among early adopters. The issues Twine’s leadership team had to address included identifying clinical care providers willing to pay for Twine, ensuring adoption and effective use by both patients and health care providers, adding capabilities to support the management of additional chronic diseases, and seamlessly integrating Twine with a client organization’s electronic medical record (EMR) system and information technology (IT) infrastructure. The need to solve these problems had become more pressing since Twine was named a finalist in the Health Acceleration Challenge (HAC) sponsored by Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School.

    Keywords: health care; chronic disease; technology adoption; digital health; health acceleration challange; information technology; health; strategy; disease management; Health; Health Care and Treatment; Information Technology; Mobile Technology; Health Industry; United States; Massachusetts;


    Huckman, Robert S., Ariel D. Stern, and Matthew G. Preble. "Twine Health." Harvard Business School Case 615-068, March 2015. View Details
  6. CV Ingenuity (A)

    Regina E. Herzlinger and Andrew Otazo

    A medical device startup seeks to complete its clinical trials with very little startup funding and a small staff when compared to its competitors.

    Keywords: CV Ingenuity; CVI; drug eluting balloon; DEB; drug eluting stent; angioplasty balloon; FoxHollow; medical device; medical device startup; premarket approval; PMA; Lutonix; Stellarex; LEVANT; ILLUMENATE; clinical trials; peripheral arterial disease; PAD; healthcare startups; Covidien; Health Care and Treatment; Business Startups; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; United States; Europe;


    Herzlinger, Regina E., and Andrew Otazo. "CV Ingenuity (A)." Harvard Business School Case 315-045, March 2015. View Details
  7. Transforming Care at UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge

    Amy C. Edmondson, Ashley-Kay Fryer and Morten T. Hansen

    This case details the transformation of a health care delivery system, UnityPoint Health - Fort Dodge, into a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) after the passage of health reform in the United States. The case explores in detail how the hospital CEO and staff designed and implemented new models of care delivery and built relationships across health care delivery settings in an effort to better cooridnate patient care and lower health care costs. Using patient stories, care delivery prior to the formation of the ACO is compared to care delivery after the formation of the ACO. Three novel programs that were cornerstones to transformation efforts are highlighted: 1) reducing readmissions; 2) creating advanced medical teams; and 3) creating a palliative care program.

    Keywords: ACO; health care; health care industry; health reform; change leadership; change management; coordination; Health Care and Treatment; Leading Change; Health Industry; United States;


    Edmondson, Amy C., Ashley-Kay Fryer, and Morten T. Hansen. "Transforming Care at UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge." Harvard Business School Case 615-052, March 2015. View Details
  8. Bloodbuy

    Richard G. Hamermesh and Michael Norris

    In 2015, Chris Godfrey, founder and CEO of Bloodbuy has to consider the best path to growth for his young company that is attempting to disrupt the blood donation industry.

    Keywords: health care; health care entrepreneurship; Blood donation; Health Care and Treatment; Entrepreneurship; Health Industry; United States;


    Hamermesh, Richard G., and Michael Norris. "Bloodbuy." Harvard Business School Case 815-114, March 2015. View Details
  9. Medalogix

    Richard G. Hamermesh and Matthew G. Preble

    This case examines an exciting new approach to health care that will help care providers identify when hospice services are the appropriate type of care for patients. The company, Medalogix, already has a product on the market that uses a proprietery algorithm to consider dozens of factors and determine when a patient qualifies for a hospice care eligibility review. The product has started to gain traction, and the case explores how Medalogix can scale and disseminate its innovative product.

    Keywords: health care; health care entrepreneurship; health care services; Implementing strategy; dissemination; innovation; market selection; Health; Health Care and Treatment; Data and Data Sets; Marketing Strategy; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Health Industry; United States;


    Hamermesh, Richard G., and Matthew G. Preble. "Medalogix." Harvard Business School Case 815-116, March 2015. View Details
  10. Market-Based Solutions to Antitrust Threats—The Rejection of the Partners Settlement

    Regina E. Herzlinger, Barak D. Richman and Kevin A. Schulman

    Keywords: health care; health care industry; health care policy; health care services; antitrust; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; United States;


    Herzlinger, Regina E., Barak D. Richman, and Kevin A. Schulman. "Market-Based Solutions to Antitrust Threats—The Rejection of the Partners Settlement." New England Journal of Medicine 372, no. 14 (April 2, 2015): 1287–1289. View Details
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