Health Care Economics
Explore the economic forces shaping US health care
Taught by Harvard Medical School faculty, this Harvard Online course provides insights into the interactions between industries in the US health care sector and teaches what economic forces are shaping health care.
What You'll Learn
Why is health care spending so high in the US? What are the primary drivers of rising health care costs? What is the relationship between finance and health care? How does money shape your decision-making as a patient, provider, or payer? Is a sustainable healthcare architecture possible?
Even for those within the health care industry, the economics of the United States health care system are stunningly complex and can be challenging to navigate. In Health Care Economics, gain insights into the interactions between industries in the health care sector and learn what economic forces are shaping health care. You will cover core topics in health care economics, such as moral hazard and adverse selection, and examine how these forces, as well as the actions of patients, providers, and other key stakeholders, shape outcomes in the health care market.
Balancing the needs of patients and purchasers is a daily struggle for health care leaders and central to the success of any health care business. To make this happen, clinical, research, operational, and financial leaders need a shared understanding of the true drivers of health care spending, the policies that shape and define the sector, and how financial incentives impact both patient and provider behavior. This course will examine health care spending growth, considering new technologies and other economic factors, and explore the theoretical framework behind controlling spending growth through changes to benefit design and payment reform.
Delivered via Harvard Business School Online’s innovative course platform, Health Care Economics features real-world examples, interactive lessons, and conversations with industry experts. Led by Harvard Medical School professor Michael Chernew, PhD, Chair of The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), this course allows you to gain a better understanding of core economic principles as you learn how to create more compelling programs, develop more effective growth strategies, negotiate better reimbursement contracts and partnerships, and advocate more effectively both inside and outside your organization.
The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 19.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Upon successful completion of the course, participants will have access to claim their credits through the Harvard Medical School’s continuing education platform.
The course is part of the Health Care Leadership Learning Path and will be delivered via HBS Online’s course platform. Learners will be immersed in real-world examples from experts at industry-leading organizations. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- Articulate the drivers of spending and spending growth in health care and evaluate how your organization’s strategy and decision-making processes impact total spending as well as value
- Describe approaches to getting the incentives right for both providers and patients and evaluate the impacts of changes to these incentives
- Understand risk and pooling as they relate to insurance markets and health benefit design
- Define the role of employers, insurers, and government in influencing the economics of health care markets, such as spending, access to care, and stability of insurance markets
- Explain how technology and patients’ and providers’ decisions contribute to high spending and spending growth, and how they impact their own organizations
Michael Chernew, PhD, is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chernew’s research examines several areas related to improving the health care system, including studies of novel benefit designs, Medicare Advantage, alternative payment models, low-value care, and the causes and consequences of rising health care spending. Dr. Chernew is currently serving as Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), where he previously served as the Vice Chair and as a Member. In 2000, 2004, and 2010, he served on technical advisory panels for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that reviewed the assumptions used by Medicare actuaries to assess the financial status of Medicare trust funds. He's a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisors and Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Health Connector Board. Dr. Chernew is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at MITRE. He's currently a co-editor of the American Journal of Managed Care and on advisory boards for several private companies in the health care space, including Virta Health, Archway, and HEALTH[at]SCALE.
Real World Case Studies
Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.
MATTHEW HUTTER, MD, MPH
SANDHYA RAO, MD
Dr. Sandhya Rao is chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the largest private health plan in Massachusetts. Learn from Rao about the challenges in health insurance today.