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. Adding Value by Talking More

    Robert S. Kaplan, Derek A. Haas and Jonathan Warsh

    The prevailing fee-for-service payment model has led health care administrators and physician practices to impose severe constraints on the time physicians spend talking, for which they are reimbursed poorly or not at all. New value-based reimbursement models, however, such as bundled payments, accountable care organizations, and shared savings plans, provide powerful incentives for physicians to regain control over the quantity and quality of time they spend talking. We’ve identified many situations in which having physicians and other clinical personnel talk more with patients and each other can be the least expensive and most effective approach for producing better outcomes at lower total costs.

    Keywords: Value Creation; Cost Management; Health Care and Treatment; Customer Focus and Relationships; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Kaplan, Robert S., Derek A. Haas, and Jonathan Warsh. "Adding Value by Talking More." New England Journal of Medicine 375, no. 20 (November 17, 2016): 1918–1920. View Details
  2. Improving Access at VA

    Ryan W. Buell, Robert S. Huckman and Sam Travers

    In 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ran the largest healthcare system in the United States, with over 1,700 sites of care that served nearly 9 million veterans. One year earlier, a scandal had erupted over a cover-up of the excessive wait times veterans faced to get medical appointments in some VA facilities. The fallout led to the resignation of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, a criminal investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the eventual replacement of 14 of VA’s top 17 leaders. This case documents the efforts of the new leadership team to improve access, regain trust, and transform the organization to address the broadening medical needs of the nation's growing veteran population.

    Keywords: Service Operations; Service Delivery; Social Issues; Health Care and Treatment; Government Administration; Public Administration Industry; Health Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Buell, Ryan W., Robert S. Huckman, and Sam Travers. "Improving Access at VA." Harvard Business School Case 617-012, November 2016. (Revised November 2016.) View Details
  3. Radial Analytics Probes Post-Acute Care

    Richard G. Hamermesh and Olivia Hull

    Thaddeus Fulford-Jones and Eric Weiss, founders of healthcare technology startup Radial Analytics, have been busy developing a software program designed to save hospitals money and improve patient outcomes by producing customized care plans for patients leaving the hospital. Having piloted the program at an urban hospital in Massachusetts, they’re ready to disseminate the software to other accountable care organizations and bundled-payment hospitals. The case explores the issues the two entrepreneurs consider as they pursue the funding, clients, and business strategy that will allow them to scale their company and cut waste in Medicare spending.

    Keywords: electronic medical records; electronic health records; data science; Entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Business Model; Business Startups; Innovation and Invention; Growth Management; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Product Positioning; Science-Based Business; Business Strategy; Health Industry; Technology Industry; Cambridge; Massachusetts;

    Citation:

    Hamermesh, Richard G., and Olivia Hull. "Radial Analytics Probes Post-Acute Care." Harvard Business School Case 817-029, November 2016. View Details
  4. Addicaid: Scaling a Digital Platform for Addiction Wellness and Recovery

    Robert S. Huckman and Sarah Mehta

    In 2013, Sam Frons founded Addicaid—a mobile application (app) that allowed people in addiction recovery to track their progress, check in with counselors, and connect with others in recovery programs. The app was grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy and used the rich set of data it collected from users to suggest tailored coping mechanisms for avoiding relapse.

    In September 2016, six months after quitting her full-time job to focus solely on Addicaid, Frons struggled to transition what was once a passion project into a full-fledged business. Two weeks earlier, Frons had approached a private, for-profit chain of addiction treatment centers about offering the app to its clients as a support tool for the recovery process once they completed treatment. The chain’s management team was interested, but wanted more information about how Addicaid could help it reach its target bed occupancy rate. A recovering addict herself, Frons founded Addicaid in 2013 to help people with substance abuse problems and process disorders (such as food, gambling, internet, pornography, and sex addictions) reach their goals—which presumably included staying out of treatment centers. But now Addicaid needed to establish a business model that also created value for treatment centers. How should Frons address this inherent tension? What path should she pursue to scale her company into a sustainable, revenue generating business?

    Keywords: digital health interventions; substance use disorder; addiction treatment; addiction recovery; Scale; innovation; Health; Health Disorders; Health Industry; New York (city, NY);

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Sarah Mehta. "Addicaid: Scaling a Digital Platform for Addiction Wellness and Recovery." Harvard Business School Case 617-018, October 2016. View Details
  5. Carrum Health: Scaling Bundled Payments

    Robert S. Huckman and Sarah Mehta

    Founded in 2014, Carrum Health helped self-insured employers located in three markets (San Diego, California; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco, California) save money on their employees’ planned surgeries. It did so by contracting directly with top-quality hospitals located within the area, and negotiating a set fee (known as a bundled payment) for each of five common surgical procedures: knee replacement, hip replacement, cervical spinal fusion, lumbar spinal fusion, and coronary bypass. By 2016, the company was growing steadily and saving its clients over 40% on average on these five procedures. In September 2016, Sachin Jain, Carrum’s CEO, received an email from North Beach Apparel, a large retailer based in San Francisco with a growing presence near Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio. North Beach was ready to partner with Carrum, but the terms of the deal required Carrum to enter the Chicago and Columbus markets in order to serve all North Beach employees. The deal would significantly increase Carrum’s revenue and begin to move the entrepreneurial venture closer to profitability. However, by expanding to Chicago and Columbus, the young company ran the risk of spreading itself too thin, especially given the opportunity for growth in Carrum’s current three markets. But Jain knew that if he waited too long to expand geographically, Carrum might lose its first-mover advantage in several markets. With limited resources, Jain needed to decide how to scale his young company: should Carrum enter the Chicago and Columbus markets with a guaranteed initial client base and then focus on selling the existing five bundles to new customers there; or, should the company add new bundles to its product line through the existing provider networks in the three markets it currently served?

    Keywords: health financing; health insurance; value-based healthcare reimbursements; bundled payments; innovation; Scale; Health; Health Industry; California; San Francisco; San Diego; Seattle;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Sarah Mehta. "Carrum Health: Scaling Bundled Payments." Harvard Business School Case 617-017, October 2016. View Details
  6. Building a Culture of Health: A New Imperative for Business

    John A. Quelch and Emily C. Boudreau

    This ambitious volume sets out to understand how every company impacts public health and introduces a robust model, rooted in organizational and scientific knowledge, for companies committed to making positive contributions to health and wellness. Focusing on four interconnected areas of corporate impact, it not only discusses the business imperative of promoting a healthier society and improved living conditions worldwide, but also provides guidelines for measuring a company’s population health footprint. Examples, statistics, and visuals showcase emerging corporate involvement in public health and underscore the business opportunities available to companies that invest in health.

    Keywords: Social Marketing; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Health;

    Citation:

    Quelch, John A., and Emily C. Boudreau. Building a Culture of Health: A New Imperative for Business. SpringerBriefs in Public Health. Springer, 2016. View Details
  7. Innovating Beyond Ochsner

    Richard G. Hamermesh and Olivia Hull

    The Ochsner Health System has developed a proprietary software tool designed to treat hypertension. Built into the system’s electronic medical records, the Hypertension Digital Medicine program allows patients to record their blood pressure at home and share readings with their medical providers in real-time. A year and a half after launching the program, the health system’s internal startup, innovationOchsner, has gathered promising clinical results and validation from the medical community. The case explores the challenges Ochsner faces in scaling and disseminating the program to other healthcare providers.

    Keywords: electronic medical records; telemedicine; hypertension; high blood pressure; chronic disease; Entrepreneurship; Health Disorders; Business Model; Business Startups; Innovation and Invention; Growth Management; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Product Positioning; Science-Based Business; Business Strategy; Health Industry; Technology Industry; New Orleans; Louisiana;

    Citation:

    Hamermesh, Richard G., and Olivia Hull. "Innovating Beyond Ochsner." Harvard Business School Case 817-028, October 2016. (Revised November 2016.) View Details
  8. Springfield Hospital

    Susanna Gallani and Robert Kaplan

    One of the key roles of costing systems is to support the evaluation of performance and facilitate appropriate resource allocations. Through participation in a comparative cost study, management at Springfield Hospital, known for its heavy focus on operational excellence, become aware of opportunities for further improvement. Analysis of the differences in costs, uses, and allocations of resources will inform management in the decision and implementation of strategic plans. This case stimulates reflections on the importance of costing systems, in particular Time-Driven Activity Based Costing, and variance analysis as decision support mechanisms.

    Keywords: Activity Based Costing and Management; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Gallani, Susanna, and Robert Kaplan. "Springfield Hospital." Harvard Business School Case 117-025, September 2016. View Details
  9. Health Leads: Reaching for Impact (A)

    V. Kasturi Rangan and Sarah Appleby

    Explores strategies to achieve system-level impact for a nonprofit focused on addressing patients' basic social needs through healthcare institutions. Founded in 1996 with a volunteer-staffed help desk at Boston Medical Center connecting low-income patients with basic resources like heating assistance, job training, and childcare programs, by 2013 the nonprofit had grown to 6 cities and 1,000 volunteers serving over 11,000 patients annually. At the end of a successful “proof plan” period, Health Leads Co-Founder and CEO Rebecca Onie and her team faced the question of how to make meeting patients’ social needs a standard part of health care in the U.S.: replicate Health Leads’ proven model or instigate a social care movement?

    Keywords: social enterprise; scaling social impact; nonprofit; healthcare; health care outcomes; health care reform; health care delivery; scaling social enterprise; Social Enterprise; Health; Health Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Rangan, V. Kasturi, and Sarah Appleby. "Health Leads: Reaching for Impact (A)." Harvard Business School Case 517-022, September 2016. View Details
  10. Health Leads: Reaching for Impact (Abridged)

    V. Kasturi Rangan and Sarah Appleby

    A nonprofit in the healthcare arena explores strategies to achieve system-level impact. Founded in 1996 with a volunteer-staffed help desk at Boston Medical Center connecting low-income patients with basic resources like heating assistance, job training, and childcare programs, by 2013 the nonprofit had grown to 6 cities and 1,000 volunteers serving over 11,000 patients annually. At the end of a successful “proof plan” period, Health Leads Co-Founder and CEO Rebecca Onie and her team faced the question of how to make meeting patients’ social needs a standard part of health care in the U.S.: replicate Health Leads’ proven model or instigate a social care movement?

    Keywords: scaling social enterprise; scaling social impact; health care delivery; health care outcomes; health care reform; nonprofit; nonprofit scaling; Social Enterprise; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Rangan, V. Kasturi, and Sarah Appleby. "Health Leads: Reaching for Impact (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 517-024, September 2016. View Details
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