I will be attending Harvard’s six-week executive course on Healthcare Economics beginning this Wednesday, July 28. It was developed and is led by the university’s medical school. healthcare costs and finances are indispensable components of all practical and sustainable solutions. Innovative technologies are often framed as drivers of higher healthcare costs, yet Harvard’s deans of strategy, Drs. Michael Porter and the late Clayton Christensen disagreed.
“The misguided assumption underlying much of the debate about healthcare reform is that technology is the enemy. By assuming that technology drives up costs, reformers neglect the central importance of innovation or, worse yet, attempt to slow its pace. In fact, innovation driven by rigorous competition is the key to successful reform. Although healthcare is unique in some ways, in this respect, it is no different than any other industry.” HBR, July-August 1994.
Christensen saw new innovative technologies as enablers of rules-based, precision, and personalized medicine. As a result, he expected health services to shift away from large, high-overhead general hospitals to more efficient and lower-cost specialty hospitals and clinics. Time has proven him right.
Then Covid threw a monkey wrench by illuminating the need for expanded emergency, intensive care, and non-intensive care capacity during mass casualty situations. Unfortunately, keeping excess capacity on standby is financially unsustainable. We believe that the best solution is for providers to leverage innovative technologies and business models to improve operational elasticity. It’s a subject I will explore with fellow attendees over the next six weeks. Stay tuned. https://pll.harvard.edu/course/health-care-economics