What you'll learn

  • Understand core business, economic, and policy principles and how they apply to the health care sector

  • Learn the building blocks for creating a strategy: industry analysis, sustainable advantage, and how to develop a plan to sustain profits in the face of competition

  • Gain new perspectives as key health care stakeholders, improving their business decision making and analysis

  • Develop a framework using the strategies applied in the course that can be used to advance your organization and career

  • Understand how to evaluate the intersection of strategy and develop firm boundaries to make better build versus buy decisions

  • Know how to align incentives of the health care chain and where there organization fits in the industry, focusing on specialized services or approaches to gain market share

Course description

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

When you think of healthcare organizations, do the terms sustainable advantage or strategic differentiation come to mind? In an industry with increasing competition and innovation, leaders of healthcare organizations, or those delivering care, need to understand how the success of their business depends on these key principles. This includes understanding the industry you’re in and market dynamics, the forces that make it easy or difficult to capture value, and how you can successfully compete against rivals. You must go beyond simply creating value to develop the critical thinking and analytical skills to evaluate the needs of your business, and its constituents, in order to optimize business decisions and inform 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 real-world case studies, you will step into the shoes of health care 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 the efficiency of the health care sector, particularly as it relates to spending. This 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 will enable you to 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 healthcare sector.

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 AMA PRA Category 24 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.


Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

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Registration Deadline

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Registration Deadline
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