Health Care Strategy

Understand business strategy to facilitate health care success

In this course, Harvard Business School faculty teach learners to align business strategy with the challenges and structures of the health care industry in the United States.

Featuring faculty from:
September 2024
5 weeks
4-6 hours per week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Applications Close
Course Calendar
Apply today for Health Care Strategy

What You'll Learn

What can business strategy teach us about health care innovation in the United States? Why is a strategic vision important to implement in health care organizations? How do health care providers and institutions create value — and, more importantly, how do they capture value? 

When you think of health care organizations, do the terms sustainable advantage or strategic differentiation come to mind? In an industry with increasing competition and innovation, leaders of U.S. health care organizations, and those delivering care, need to understand how their success depends on these key principles. This includes understanding health care business strategy and market development, the forces that make it easy or difficult to capture value, and how you can successfully compete against rivals. You must go beyond creating value to develop the critical thinking and analytical skills to develop a health care business strategy which will allow you to evaluate the needs of your business, optimize business decisions, and develop new or innovative health care ventures.


Balancing the needs of multiple parties—patients, purchasers, and providers—can be daunting and many decision makers struggle to meet the growing demands of an evolving industry. By exploring different health care business models through real-world case studies, you will step into the shoes of business leaders and learn to face these problems directly, identifying both opportunities and challenges, to derive actionable insights for your own business. Further, you will use economic and policy frameworks to seek ways to improve efficiency in the health care sector, particularly as it relates to spending. 

This online health care management course is primarily focused on U.S. health care and institutions; however, the business strategies and principles can be applied broadly in health care settings around the world to identify sources of competitive advantage. 

Led by Harvard Business School professor Leemore Dafny, Health Care Strategy will help you align the principles of business strategy with the unique challenges and structures of U.S. health care organizations. The course is fundamental to health care executive education will enable you to define the mission of your organization, develop a strategy to create and capture value, and lead your organization to success with confidence.

Combine the best business strategies with the fundamentals of the health care sector in the United States.


The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
This activity has been approved for 24 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:

  • Understand core business, economic, and policy principles and how they apply to the health care sector in the U.S.
  • Apply the building blocks for creating a strategy: industry analysis, sustainable advantage, and developing a plan to sustain profits in the face of competition
  • Appreciate the perspectives of key health care stakeholders, improving business decision making and analysis skills
  • Develop a framework using the health care business strategies applied in the course that can be used to advance your organization and career
  • Evaluate the intersection of strategy and develop firm boundaries to make better build versus buy decisions
  • Align incentives of the health care chain and where their organization fits in the industry, focusing on specialized services or approaches to gain market share

Your Instructor

Leemore Dafny is the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, where she teaches courses in healthcare strategy and co-directs to PhD Program in Business Economics. Professor Dafny also serves on the faculties of the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the interdisciplinary Program in Health Policy.

Who Will Benefit

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Rising Managers

Grow your career and explore various strategies from the perspective of clinical providers, payer organizations, and purchasers.

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Clinical and Administrative Leaders

Learn the fundamentals of strategy, including value creation and capture, competitive analysis, and organizational structure and definition.

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Health Care Executives

With or without clinical experience, better understand how the health care ecosystem within your organization operates and learn how to define a successful business strategy.

Learner Experience

"The course completely fulfilled all I wanted to learn about the health care industry in the United States. I would highly recommend it to anyone starting out in the health care industry as a business leader. I particularly enjoyed the case studies because it gave real world application examples of how business is done. I also learned about pioneers that I was able to discuss with my manager at work."

Tracy Lyn De Silva
CWH Advisors

The majority of Health Care Strategy learners who participated in our post-course survey report: 

  • They can immediately apply their learnings to upcoming projects or projects that they are currently working on.
  • The most valuable aspect of the course to be the perspectives from industry leaders and Professor Leemore Dafny.
  • They are likely to recommend this course to a colleague friend. 

"I enjoyed the style of presentation for this online course, which was a combination of case studies and brief video discussions in the context of highly selected rich educational materials. The questions asked for discussions and peer-engagement platform helped the course look like a live lecture, while participants benefit from the comfort of their personalized schedules. I not only recommend Harvard Online courses to my friends and colleagues, but also look forward to future opportunities to joining other courses."

Payam Tarighi
 Lead Data Analyst
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

"It is super valuable to see health care from another perspective other than clinically, and to realize that clinical and financial goals can align with the right people working together."

Holly D.
Health Care Strategy Learner

 "I thought this was an amazing course with extremely relevant content. Coming from the clinical support and product development side of medical device startup companies, this course really opened my eyes to some of the decisions that the c-suite individuals would make on the business side. A lot of things were brought to light from this course and I will continue to review the content until I no longer am able. It was also very nice to hear people from the industry speak to how they put these practices into play in the business world."

Michael Adams
 Product Specialist
Aesculap, Inc.

“This course was extremely significant in my learning about healthcare business industry standards, expectations, and ways to implement to healthcare strategy into a consulting role, which is what I am moving into. This course sets a phenomenal foundation in to my professional pivot into this role.”

Jane Canter
 Nurse Care Coordination

"I already had some theoretical and practical knowledge of the topics covered in the course. However, the way the content is given throughout the course and the participation stimulated by the methodology, expanded my knowledge and my vision on the subject. Real cases are very good for understanding and learning the topics. A real feast."

Adelino de Melo Freire Jr.
 Medical Director
Target Medicina de Precisão

"If you are looking to learn the basic dynamics of the health care industry as well as understand how to define a strategy to be successful in improving patient outcomes and reducing overall health care costs, then this is the class for you."

Joshua M.
Health Care Strategy Learner

Available Discounts and Benefits for Groups and Individuals

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Experience Harvard Online by utilizing our wide variety of discount programs for individuals and groups. 


Past Participant Discounts

Learners who have enrolled in at least one qualifying Harvard Online program hosted on the HBS Online platform are eligible to receive a 30% discount on this course, regardless of completion or certificate status in the first purchased program. Past Participant Discounts are automatically applied to the Program Fee upon time of payment.  Learn more here.

Learners who have earned a verified certificate for a HarvardX course hosted on the edX platform are eligible to receive a 30% discount on this course using a discount code. Discounts are not available after you've submitted payment, so if you think you are eligible for a discount on a registration, please check your email for a code or contact us.

Nonprofit, Government, Military, and Education Discounts

For this course we offer a 30% discount for learners who work in the nonprofit, government, military, or education fields. 

Eligibility is determined by a prospective learner’s email address, ending in .org, .gov, .mil, or .edu. Interested learners can apply below for the discount and, if eligible, will receive a promo code to enter when completing payment information to enroll in a Harvard Online program. Click here to apply for these discounts.

Gather your team to experience Health Care Strategy and other Harvard Online courses to enjoy the benefits of learning together: 

  • Single invoicing for groups of 10 or more
  • Tiered discounts and pricing available with up to 50% off
  • Growth reports on your team's progress
  • Flexible course and partnership plans 

Learn more and enroll your team

Real World Case Studies

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

Beth Zoneraich

Beth Zoneraich

Beth Zoneraich is the CEO of a health care fertility organization, however did not begin her career in the health care industry.  Explore how business analysis aided her in entering the health care business.

Kevin Tabb

Kevin Tabb

Kevin Tabb is the CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a system of academic and teaching hospitals in Massachsetts. He will share his first hand experience on how business strategy is affecting the health care industry

Dr. Jorge Plutzky

Dr. Jorge Plutzky

Dr. Jorge Plutzky is the Director of The Vascular Disease Prevention Program and on faculty at Harvard Medical School. As an expert on capturing value in competitive health care markets, he will describe his methods and strategies.  

Syllabus and Upcoming Calendars 

Health Care Strategy features authentic business examples, interactive lessons, and conversations with industry experts. This course will help you align the principles of business strategy with the unique challenges and structures of health care organizations, enabling you to create and capture value for your organization, and lead your organization to sustainability.

Learning requirements: There are no prerequisites to enroll in this course. To earn a Certificate of Completion from Harvard Online, participants must thoughtfully complete modules 1-4, including satisfactory completion of the associated quizzes, by stated deadlines.

  • Study the Statins case on creating and capturing value by selling products.
  • Study the Livongo case on creating and capturing value by selling a complex service.
  •  Apply a framework that illustrates value creation and value capture.
  • Determine how much value a seller can capture by considering the competitive environment and the value created for different stakeholders.
  • Study the Advanced Fertility Care case on assessing industry attractiveness.
  • Study the Oak Street Health case on positioning within an industry to achieve sustainable success.
  •  Perform a "five forces” analysis.
  • Assess the strength of different forces in different industries.
  • Evaluate the tradeoffs made by an entrant in elder care, and how this informs their decisions about growth.
  • Study the Choose and Book case on choice and competition in the British National Health Service.
  • Study the Geisinger Health case on expanding the market.
  • Study the Surgical Institute of Reading case on when regulators step in.
  • Evaluate the results of a “natural experiment” involving the NHS.
  • Assess opportunities provided by destination medicine for both providers and employers.
  • Analyze business and regulatory moves that reduce and enhance competition in different markets.
  • Study the Consolidation in Eastern Massachusetts case on expanding to defeat or enhance competition.
  • Study the Civica Rx case on a novel solution to a long-term problem.
  • Dissect an organization’s decision to vertically integrate.
  • Assess the effects of vertical integration on pricing, under different assumptions.
  • Examine the effects of provider- insurer integration on competition, prices, and access for patients.

Earn Your Certificate

Enroll today in Harvard Online's Health Care Strategy course.

Apply Now

Still Have Questions?

What are the learning requirements? How do I list my certificate on my resume? Learn the answers to these and more in our FAQs.


Health Care Strategy Course Certificate

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