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. The Crash and the Fix (A)

    Leonard A. Schlesinger and Paras D. Bhayani

    A review of the process utilized by the Obama administration to create the Health exchange and the problems that resulted from the implementation effort. There is a B case that provides the follow on strategy and processes utilized to get the site up and running after the initial failures of implementation.

    Keywords: Organizational change; Implementing strategy; Implementation; government innovation; health care industry; health care reform; Health Care and Treatment; Government Administration; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Health Industry; Information Technology Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Paras D. Bhayani. " The Crash and the Fix (A)." Harvard Business School Case 315-129, June 2015. View Details
  2. Acıbadem Healthcare Group

    Regina E. Herzlinger, Esel Çekin, Natalie Kindred and Gamze Yucaoglu

    This case focuses on Acıbadem Healthcare Group's, Turkey's only premium nationwide hospital network, potential expansion strategies after it was acquired by International Healthcare Holdings Berhad (IHH) in 2011, the world's second-largest publicly listed health care group and a private hospital leader in Singapore and Malaysia. By providing perspectives on both Acıbadem and IHH-Parkway-Pantai's operational models, growth aspirations, collaboration and synergies, as well as cultural and operational differences, the case allows students to discuss which expansion strategies would be best suited for Acıbadem's operations—which geographic regions should initially be targeted, what business model is best suited for Acıbadem's growth (specialized chain, public-partnership etc.) Also, students are encouraged to discuss how Acıbadem should leverage its relationship with IHH and collaborate with Parkway-Pantai.

    Keywords: health care; Turkey; hospital; Health Care and Treatment; Health; Health Industry; Turkey;


    Herzlinger, Regina E., Esel Çekin, Natalie Kindred, and Gamze Yucaoglu. "Acıbadem Healthcare Group." Harvard Business School Case 315-120, May 2015. View Details
  3. Philips Healthcare: Marketing the HealthSuite Digital Platform

    John A. Quelch and Margaret L. Rodriguez

    In June 2014, leading healthcare and consumer technology company, Royal Philips ("Philips"), announced its HealthSuite Digital Platform to house healthcare data and enable applications used by physicians and patients. Philips had strong equity in the healthcare technology space, due to its extensive portfolio of medical devices and related software sold primarily to hospitals. Philips designed the first two apps for the platform (eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion) in-house, but it planned to open it up to third-party developers who would create an array of health-focused apps. Healthcare had long lagged behind other industries in adoption of technology as well as patient-relationship management. However, many health players had recently increased investment in new infrastructure and data analytics. Would the new Philips HealthSuite Digital Platform find success in the rapidly evolving industry?

    Keywords: health; healthcare; digital; platform; ecosystem; Health Care and Treatment; Technological Innovation; Technology; Product Development; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Netherlands; United States;


    Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Philips Healthcare: Marketing the HealthSuite Digital Platform." Harvard Business School Case 515-052, May 2015. View Details
  4. Colgate-Palmolive Company: Marketing Anti-Cavity Toothpaste

    John A. Quelch and Margaret L. Rodriguez

    In October 2013, Colgate-Palmolive Company, the world's leading oral care company, was about to launch its new Colgate® Maximum Cavity Protection™ plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer™ toothpaste in Brazil. Oral care category accounted for 46 percent of Colgate's $17.4 billion sales worldwide in 2013. The new toothpaste was clinically proven to reduce and prevent cavities more effectively than toothpaste with the same level of fluoride alone. All major industry players, including Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline and Colgate itself, had long ago launched products with the maximum amount of fluoride allowed by Health authorities. Yet cavities remained a significant threat to public health in many countries, both developing and developed. As Suzan Harrison, Colgate's president of Oral Care, prepared to launch CMCP+SAN in Brazil, the world's third largest oral care market, her executive team was divided over the product's positioning and pricing. Should it be positioned as a basic product to maximize reach for its health benefits or as a premium product for consumers who sought superior cavity protection?

    Keywords: marketing; new product management; Consumer segmentation; global marketing; corporate social responsibility; healthcare; sustainability; Health Care and Treatment; Environmental Sustainability; Marketing; Segmentation; Product Development; Product Launch; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Consumer Products Industry; Brazil; United States;


    Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Colgate-Palmolive Company: Marketing Anti-Cavity Toothpaste." Harvard Business School Case 515-050, May 2015. (Revised May 2015.) View Details
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Measuring Teamwork in Health Care Settings: A Review of Survey Instruments

    Melissa Valentine, Ingrid M. Nembhard and Amy C. Edmondson

    Background: Teamwork in health care settings is widely recognized as an important factor in providing high quality patient care. However, the behaviors that comprise effective teamwork, the organizational factors that support teamwork, and the relationship between teamwork and patient outcomes remain empirical questions in need of rigorous study.

    Objective: To identify and review survey instruments used to assess dimensions of teamwork, so as to facilitate high quality research on this topic.

    Research design: We conducted a systematic review of articles published before September 2012 to identify survey instruments used to measure teamwork and to assess their conceptual content, psychometric validity, and relationships to outcomes of interest. We searched the ISI Web of Knowledge database and identified relevant articles using the search terms team, teamwork, or collaboration in combination with survey, scale, measure, or questionnaire.

    Results: We found 39 surveys that measured teamwork. Surveys assessed different dimensions of teamwork. The most commonly assessed dimensions were communication, coordination, and respect. Of the 39 surveys, 10 met all of the criteria for psychometric validity, and 14 showed significant relationships to non-self-report outcomes.

    Conclusions: Evidence of psychometric validity is lacking for many teamwork survey instruments. However, several psychometrically valid instruments are available. Researchers aiming to advance research on teamwork in health care should consider using or adapting one of these instruments before creating a new one. Because instruments vary considerably in the behavioral processes and emergent states of teamwork that they capture, researchers must carefully evaluate the conceptual consistency between instrument, research question, and context.

    Keywords: Teamwork; psychometric properties; survey instruments:; Measurement and Metrics; Surveys; Groups and Teams; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry;


    Valentine, Melissa, Ingrid M. Nembhard, and Amy C. Edmondson. "Measuring Teamwork in Health Care Settings: A Review of Survey Instruments." Medical Care 53, no. 4 (April 2015): e16–e30. View Details
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
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