Health Care Reform

29 Results

 

Marketing Obamacare

HBS Professor John Quelch contends that the success of the Affordable Care Act depends more on marketing than it does on policy. And in Connecticut, he's got just the state to prove it. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Five Imperatives for Improving Health Care

Leaders from Harvard's medical and business schools are exploring ways to improve health care delivery. In a new study, their Forum on Healthcare Innovation delivers five key imperatives. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

The Impact of Pooling on Throughput Time in Discretionary Work Settings: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay

Improving the productivity of their organizations' operating systems is an important objective for managers. Pooling—an operations management technique—has been proposed as a way to improve performance by reducing the negative impact of variability in demand for services. The idea is that pooling enables incoming work to be processed by any one of a bank of servers, which deceases the odds that an incoming unit of work will have to wait. Does pooling have a downside? The authors analyze data from a hospital's emergency department over four years. Findings show that, counter to what queuing theory would predict, pooling may actually increase procesdsing times in discretionary work settings. More specifically, patients have longer lengths of stay when emergency department physicians work in systems with pooled tasks and resources versus dedicated ones. Overall, the study suggests that managers of discretionary work systems should design control mechanisms to mitigate behaviors that benefit the employee to the detriment of customers or the organization. One mechanism is to make the workload constant regardless of work pace, which removes the benefit of slowing down. Read More

What Health Care Managers Need to Know--and How to Teach Them

Health care business managers are under tremendous pressure to become more innovative, more productive, more accountable. The question, asks Regina Herzlinger, is who is going to teach them these skills? Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Will Business Management Save US Health Care?

Summing Up: Problems confronting the US health care system are much larger and broader than those that can be solved by management in the absence of other remedies, readers tell Jim Heskett. Open for comment; 28 Comments posted.

Key Drivers of Successful Implementation of an Employee Suggestion-Driven Improvement Program

Service organizations frequently implement improvement programs to increase quality. These programs often rely on employees' suggestions about improvement opportunities. Yet organizations face a trade-off with suggestion-driven improvement programs. Should managers use an "analysis-oriented" approach to surface a large number of problems, prioritize these, and select a small set of high priority ones for solution efforts? Or is it better to take an "action-oriented" approach, addressing problems raised by frontline staff regardless of priority ranking? In this paper the authors weigh the tradeoff between these two different approaches. Using data from 58 work groups in 20 hospitals that implemented an 18-month-long employee suggestion-driven improvement program, the authors find that an action-oriented approach was associated with higher perceived improvement in performance, while an analysis-oriented approach was not. The study suggests that the analysis-oriented approach negatively impacted employees' perceptions of improvement because it solicited, but not act on, employees' ideas. Read More

A Randomized Field Study of a Leadership WalkRounds™-Based Intervention

Hospitals face an imperative to improve quality, increase efficiency, and improve customer experience. Many hospitals utilize process improvement techniques to achieve these goals. One technique to involve senior managers, known in hospitals most commonly as Leadership WalkRounds™, is a program of visiting the organization's frontlines to observe and talk with employees while they do their work. The intention is that managers and frontline staff will work together to identify and resolve obstacles to efficiency, quality, or safety. (For brevity, the authors refer to it in this paper as WalkRounds™.) Rigorous testing of the effectiveness of process improvement interventions generally, and WalkRounds™ particularly, however, has been rare. This paper presents results from a field study that tested the effectiveness of a safety improvement program inspired by WalkRounds™. The authors compare pre-program and post-program measures of perceived improvement in performance (PIP) from work areas in hospitals that were randomly selected to implement the program, with pre- and post- measures from the same types of work areas in control hospitals. Findings show that, contrary to expectations, the WalkRounds™-based program was associated with decreased PIP. This study calls into question the general effectiveness of WalkRounds™ on employees' perceptions, which had been assumed in prior literature. Read More

HBS Faculty on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

We asked three Harvard Business School faculty members, all experts in the health care field, to provide their views on various facets of one of this country's most important and complex problems. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Making the Case for Consumer-Driven Health Care

Even as so-called Obamacare becomes a central issue in the 2012 presidential election, policymakers and academics continue the debate on how best to deliver affordable and efficient health care services to millions of Americans. In this video interview, professor Regina Herzlinger makes the case that consumers should have more say over their own care. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Management’s Role in Reforming Health Care

Health care managers are the missing link in debate over reform. Their skills and ideas are needed to sustain and improve upon multiple advances in the delivery of health care for the benefit of patients. An interview with HBS professor Richard M.J. Bohmer, MD, and an excerpt from his book Designing Care: Aligning the Nature and Management of Health Care. Read More

Input Constraints and the Efficiency of Entry: Lessons from Cardiac Surgery

Many professions rely on highly and variably skilled individuals. If a new firm is looking to enter a specific market, in addition to setting up a physical facility the company needs to hire or contract with specialized labor. In the short term, the supply of these specialists is relatively inelastic. From the point of view of economics, there remains a well-known potential for free entry to be inefficient when firms make entry decisions without internalizing the costs associated with the business they "steal" from incumbent firms. In 1996 Pennsylvania eliminated its certificate-of-need (CON) policy that had restricted entry by hospitals into expensive clinical programs, such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) programs—leading to an increase from 43 to 63 in the number of hospitals providing this service. HBS professor Robert Huckman and coauthors examine the welfare implications of entry in the market for cardiac surgery. Read More

Why Can’t Americans Get Health Care Right?

Change is desperately needed, agreed readers of Professor Jim Heskett's online forum. But how to make that change remains in doubt. What can Americans learn from solutions implemented by other countries? (Forum now closed; next forum begins September 4.) Closed for comment; 103 Comments posted.

Diagnosing the Public Health Care Alternative

With deep experience in health insurance reform, HBS faculty describe how improved competition in insurance plans could improve value for patients. Professors Regina E. Herzlinger, Robert Huckman, and Michael E. Porter take the pulse of a debate. Read More

Applying the Care Delivery Value Chain: HIV/AIDS Care in Resource Poor Settings

The prevention and treatment of a complex disease such as HIV/AIDS in resource‐poor settings presents enormous challenges. Many of the social and economic factors that make populations living in these settings vulnerable to HIV/AIDS such as poverty, malnutrition, and political instability conspire to create barriers to effective care delivery. Understanding how interventions are related to each other and how local socioeconomic factors influence them is critical to effective program design. The Care Delivery Value Chain (CDVC) looks at care as an overall system, not as a series of discrete interventions, and describes the activities required to deliver care, illustrating their sequence and organization. Government agencies, philanthropic organizations, and non‐governmental organizations can use the framework to improve HIV/AIDS care delivery. Read More

How to Revive Health-Care Innovation

Simple solutions to complex problems lead to breakthroughs in industries from retailing to personal computers to printing. So let's try health care, too. According to HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen and coauthors of The Innovator's Prescription, such disruption to an industry might look like a threat, but it "always proves to be an extraordinary growth opportunity." Book excerpt. Read More

What Should Employers Do about Health Care?

Companies that cut health care costs without improving the overall value of care eventually pay a price in terms of employee absenteeism and chronic ailments. According to Harvard University professor and strategy expert Michael E. Porter and coauthors, the best way to truly reduce health care costs is to improve quality. Read More

Is Health Care Making You Better—or Dead?

Professor Regina Herzlinger has been studying the U.S. health care system for decades, advocating for consumer-driven reform as the best remedy. But the slow pace of change, which she attributes to a fat-cat network of insurers, policymakers, hospitals, and even employers, has her fed up. Her new book, Who Killed Health Care? adopts the emotional language of a manifesto in demanding change to make health care more responsive to customers, affordable to those in need, and a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. Read More

Health Care Under a Research Microscope

Perhaps no industry has caught the research attention of Harvard Business School faculty as much as health care. Researchers are investigating business-focused solutions on everything from improving team work among surgical teams to developing market motivations that increase the use of water purification in poor villages. Read More

What Is the Government’s Role in U.S. Healthcare?

Healthcare will grab ever more headlines in the U.S. in the coming months, says Jim Heskett. Any service that is on track to consume 40 percent of the gross national product of the world's largest economy by the year 2050 will be hard to ignore. But are we addressing healthcare cost issues with the creativity they deserve? What do you think? Closed for comment; 66 Comments posted.

The Case for Consumer-Driven Medicaid

The Medicaid program is a health insurance safety net for 52 million Americans, but the price tag threatens the financial stability of the states. Regina Herzlinger looks to South Carolina for a model in consumer-driven healthcare. Read More

Competition the Cure for Healthcare

Michael Porter is considered by many the world's foremost authority on competition and strategy. He discusses the need for fundamental reform in the way the United States delivers healthcare. Q&A. Read More

Using Competition to Reform Healthcare

In their new book, HBS Professor Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg argue that the very structure of U.S. healthcare must be redesigned to create value and effective competition throughout the system. An excerpt from Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results. Read More

Public Pension Reform: Does Mexico Have the Answer?

Mexico may have found a formula for avoiding most of the misfortunes that could arise when individuals invest their own funds. What's the right way to support an aging workforce? And why is it that a concept—life-long security—that should bring comfort to all of us is so distasteful to address in public? Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Solving the Health Care Conundrum

Executive summary of a presentation on reforming health care made by Professor Michael Porter at a Harvard Business School Publishing Virtual Seminar. Read More

Michael Porter’s Prescription For the High Cost of Health Care

The troubled U.S. health care system needs a brave, new kind of competition, say HBS professor Michael E. Porter and the University of Virginia’s Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg. A Harvard Business Review excerpt. Read More

Are Consumers the Cure for Broken Health Insurance?

"The health insurance system in the United States is broken, and business is paying the price," says HBS professor Regina E. Herzlinger. In this excerpt from Harvard Business Review, she describes how consumers may just be the cure. PLUS: Q&A with the author. Read More

Healthcare Conference Looks At Ailing Industry

What's plaguing healthcare? Experts including HBS professor Clayton Christensen make the diagnosis on future trends for biology and medicine—and the business opportunities within—at the 2nd HBS Alumni Healthcare Conference. Read More

Putting Health Care Consumers in the Driver’s Seat

Amid rising costs, changing attitudes and increasing dissatisfaction with the existing health care system, the development of consumer-driven health care is a given: the question, according to participants in an HBS conference chaired by Professor Regina A. Herzlinger, is not If, but When. Read More