HarvardX: BUS5.1x: Innovating in Health Care

School: HarvardX
Course Code: BUS5.1x
Classes Start: 31 Mar 2014
Course Length: 11 weeks
Estimated effort: 6 to 12 hours/week (depending on whether you are enrolled in the large, open course or the application only small, private course)


A financial analysis walk-through and case study are given in the first week.

If you do not feel comfortable with the material after reviewing it and answering the...

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Innovating in Health Care

Innovating in Health Care

An introduction to innovation in health care ventures for those interested in entrepreneurial opportunities in health care technology, management, consulting, or investing.

About this Course

Problems with health care quality, access, and costs bedevil all countries. This course focuses on creating successful global business innovations in health care that can better meet consumer and societal needs. At its end, you should understand the how to evaluate opportunities and the elements of viable business models for different kinds of health care innovations.

Innovating in Health Care (IHC) enables participants to meet and interact with others who are also interested in improving health care. The course focuses on evaluating and crafting business models that attain alignment between an entrepreneurial health care venture and the six factors that critically shape new health care ventures - Financing, Structure, Public Policy, Consumers, Technology, and Accountability. Innovating in Health Care discusses the impact of these factors on business models for three different kinds of innovations: consumer-focused, technology-driven, and integrations which create scale.

You will learn:

  • How to distinguish successful innovations from those likely to fail
  • How to determine if an innovation is aligned with its environment
  • Which elements make up a viable competitive strategy for an innovative health care venture
  • How other elements combine to create a feasible business model for an innovative health care venture
  • How to create a business plan

The course is conducted through lectures about assessing and creating a business plan and with case studies that describe decisions facing real entrepreneurial health firms and requires you to analyze these potential decisions through the IHC framework. Participants are taught how to use the case method and how to evaluate business plans. In addition, these lessons are highlighted by insights from the top global health care innovators.

The course will be offered in two formats: an open, online experience and a more limited, team-based deep dive experience, where teams (self-assembled or newly created online) can produce actual business plans evaluated by peer teams and the Innovating in Health Care course instructors.

The course syllabus can be accessed here.

The International Journal of Care Coordination will publish a special issue on Healthcare Innovation to Improve Care Coordination. Course participants are invited to submit their business models for healthcare innovation, methods for the development or evaluation of such models, and study proposals for evaluation of healthcare innovation for this special issue. Course participants will receive additional information at the start of the course. Information about the Journal can be retrieved from: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/journals/Journal202184

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.

Ways to take this edX course:

Simply Audit this Course

Audit this course for free and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.


Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities and abide by the edX Honor Code. If your work is satisfactory, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement.

Course Staff

  • Regina E. Herzlinger

    Regina E. Herzlinger

    Regina E. Herzlinger is the primary instructor for Innovating Health Care. She is the Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. She was the first woman to be tenured and chaired at Harvard Business School and the first to serve on a number of corporate boards. She is widely recognized for her innovative research in health care, including her early predictions of the unraveling of managed care and the rise of consumer-driven health care, a term that she coined. Her work was key to introducing consumer-driven health plans and “focused health factories,” such as centers for orthopedics, cardiology, and cancer care.

    She teaches an MBA course, Innovating in Health Care and two related field study courses. Based on that work, she is currently completing three text and cases books on Innovating in Health Care for the life sciences, health care insurance, and health care delivery. In 2013, she launched a new HBS Executive Education program “Business Innovations in Global Health Care.” In 2012, she launched a continuing series of conferences, “21st-Century Health Care Management Education: Confronting Challenges for Innovation with a Modern Curriculum,” with 156 global academic attendees.

    Regina Herzlinger received her Bachelor’s Degree from MIT and her Doctorate from the Harvard Business School.

  • Margo I. Seltzer

    Margo I. Seltzer

    Margo I. Seltzer will be teaching the Phreesia case. She is a Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Her research interests include provenance, file systems, databases, transaction processing systems, and applying technology to problems in health care. 

    She is currently the President of the USENIX Association. She is a Sloan Foundation Fellow in Computer Science, an ACM Fellow, a Bunting Fellow, and was the recipient of the 1996 Radcliffe Junior Faculty Fellowship. She is recognized as an outstanding teacher and mentor, having received the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award in 1996, the Abrahmson Teaching Award in 1999, and the Capers and Marion McDonaldAward for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising in 2010.

    Dr. Seltzer received an A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992.

  • Kevin Schulman

    Kevin Schulman

    Kevin A. Schulman, MD, MBA, will be teaching the Brainlab case. He is a professor of medicine and the Gregory Mario and Jeremy Mario Professor of Business Administration at Duke University. In 2013 he served as a visiting professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. At Duke he is an associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in the School ofMedicine, the country's largest academic clinical research organization. At Duke's Fuqua School of Business, he served for more than a decade as the director of the Health Sector Management program and the Master of Management in Clinical Informatics degree program. He is President of the Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM).


A financial analysis walk-through and case study are given in the first week.

If you do not feel comfortable with the material after reviewing it and answering the questions in the case study, we recommend that you continue reviewing it until you do.

In order to apply for the small private course (100 teams will be admitted), participants must form teams of 4-6 people around a health care business idea. Teams can be composed of people you already know or people you meet within our networking group.