About the Book Porter and Teisberg on Redefining Health CareHarvard Business School

About the Book


Redefining Health Care
Creating Value-Based Competition on Results

Michael E. Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg
Harvard Business School Publishing, 432 pages
May 2006

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Health care in the United States and other nations is on a collision course with patient needs and economic reality.

In Redefining Health Care, Michael E. Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg set forth a new vision of the health care system in which every actor is focused on improving value, as measured by health outcomes per dollar expended. The authors prescribe a powerful and actionable agenda for change.

In today's dysfunctional competition, players strive not to create value for patients but to capture more revenue, shift costs, and restrict services. Competition takes place at the wrong levels and on the wrong things-between broad line institutions, in the provision of discrete services, in local markets. Instead of rewarding good provider results with more patients, administrators make costly and ineffective attempts to micromanage care processes and second-guess provider decisions.

To reform health care, we must reform the nature of competition itself. Redefining Health Care describes how all participants-providers, health plans, employers, suppliers, consumers, and governments-can redefine their strategies, operating practices, and organizational structures to unleash stunning improvements in health value delivered.

Porter and Teisberg shed new light on:

  • Why decades of reform have only worsened the problem

  • How physicians and provider organizations have misunderstood their true business

  • Why current "solutions"-consumer-driven health care, integrated health systems, pay-for-performance, electronic medical records, single-payer systems-will not suffice

  • How each system participant can redefine its strategy to increase value

  • Why mandatory measurement and reporting of patient results is the single most important step in reforming the system

  • Why higher quality care should cost less

  • How mandatory health insurance for all, with subsidies for low-income citizens, will actually make the system more efficient

As the many concrete examples in this book illustrate, individual actors can transform the health care system now: They need not to wait for government intervention. The payoff? Dramatic improvements in health, and the value of health care spending, that benefit all of us.

The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at HBS