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Strategy in the Health Sector

  • Enseignant(s):  
  • Titre en français: Stratégie dans le secteur de la santé
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS:
  • Horaire: Semestre de printemps 2018-2019, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
      WARNING :   this is an old version of the syllabus, old versions contain   OBSOLETE   data.
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The healthcare sector is a complex and challenging environment that is undergoing significant and rapid change. Demand for healthcare is rising fast, which is imposing significant pressure on health care systems. Technological and knowledge innovation is rapid, but the costs of research and development are very high. Ensuring access and affordability to innovative treatments, while achieving significant returns on investments for life science companies is a major concern for sustainability. The diffusion of these technological advances into clinical practice and improvements in the performance of health care providers are variable. The resulting increase in expenditures on healthcare are leading to initiatives to reduce costs and improve quality of care. The sector is also highly regulated, which imposes considerable constraints and responsibilities on managers.

This course will provide an overview of the healthcare sector using insights of strategic management and economics in addressing problems across the entire value chain from product research and development to the financing, organisation and delivery of healthcare. The main goals of the course are to introduce students to some important issues facing decision makers in the health care sector; to provide an understanding of how strategic management and economic perspectives can analyse these problems and propose possible solutions. The course will enable students to:

  • Gain an understanding of the healthcare environment by analysing strategic issues facing organisations in the health care sector.
  • Understand the structure of healthcare systems, their financial flows and regulations.
  • Obtain an awareness of the impacts of the important external (e.g. political, legal, economic and technological) and internal organisational factors affecting health care institutions.
  • Appreciate the problems of ensuring adequate access to innovative treatments, providing high quality and efficient delivery of health care services.
  • Provide a framework for understanding a healthcare organization's operating environment and the range of strategies available to different health care organizations to enhance their performance in line with improving health outcomes for patients, reducing costs of treatments and increasing the value of their organisation’s products.
  • Analyse real world examples of the key strategic issues facing a specific healthcare organisation and assess the causes, consequences and potential solutions to the management.


The course will introduce students to important strategic issues across the health care sector from the perspectives of the key stakeholders. It will discuss and appraise some current topics from a strategic management and economic perspective, and explain the features of the health care sector that make it different from other private and public sector settings. It will develop important concepts, frameworks and apply analytical tools to help understand problems in health care.

The course will look at how value can be defined, measured and created for patients and health care organisations. It will examine the relationships between the relevant stakeholders in the market and across the health care value chain. It will investigate how the alignment of objectives and incentives in the relationship between medical technology companies, health care providers, health care insurers/payers and patients might affect the quantity, price, quality and distribution of health care provided. We will analyse the different ways in which health care is financed, delivered and regulated, and how these features of different health care systems affect management problems of organisations operating in the health sector.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Introduction to the healthcare sector.
  • Application of strategic management in healthcare.
  • Understanding healthcare systems (financing and organisation)
  • Managed care and integrated health care delivery systems
  • Pay for performance in healthcare.
  • The pharmaceutical industry and regulation of medical technologies.
  • Information technology in healthcare.
  • Evaluation of cost-effectiveness of health care interventions.

The course will consist of a mixture of lectures on specific topics, supported by relevant case studies of strategic relevance to the health sector. The course will illustrate the application of managerial and economic principles and provide a conceptual overview that will be illustrated with real world examples and empirical evidence. The course will be practical with group analysis of actual case studies from organisations operating across the health sector as well as an individual research project of a specific medical technology company. Invited experts from industry will also provide course lectures and exercises. Students are expected to participate fully in lectures, class exercises and assessed group assignments.

Course exercises and assignments:

  • Case study group assignments (presentation and class discussion).
  • Individual healthcare project: Strategic analysis of a medical technology company.
  • External seminar (Novartis) and class group work: Innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • In class workshop on medical technology company project problems.


The course does not have a required text book. It will provide lecture notes and use material from several text books as well as published articles from journals and reports. Essential reading along with the case studies for group work and class discussionwill be made available on the Moodle site for the course and references for further reading will be provided. I recommend that you seek out some of listed articles and text books below to complement your studies and assessments.


Journal articles

  • *Porter M.E. and Lee T.H. The Strategy that will Fix Healthcare. Harvard Business Review. October 2013.
  • *Herzlinger R.E. Why Innovation in Health Care Is So Hard. Harvard Business Review. May 2006

Health Care Management text books:

  • *Swayne LE, Duncan WJ, Ginter PM. Strategic Management of Health Care Organisations. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
  • *Burns L, Bradley E, Weiner B. Shortell and Kaluzny's Healthcare Management: Organization Design and Behavior. New York: Delmar, 2006.
  • Duncan WJ, Ginter PM, Swayne LE (editors). Handbook of Health Care Management. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998.
  • Porter Michael E., and Elizabeth O. Teisberg. Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
  • Christensen C, Grossman JH, Jason JH. The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care. Edition 1. December 2008. Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

Strategic Management books:

  • *Besanko D, Dranove D, Shanley M. Economics of Strategy. Second Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000.
  • Dranove D, Marciano S. Kellogg on Strategy: Concepts, Tools, and Frameworks for Practitioners. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2005."

Health Economics text books:

  • *Folland S, Goodman AC, Stano M, The Economics of Health and Health Care (3rd to 7th international editions): Prentice Hall: 2000.
  • Phelps CE. Health Economics (3rd or 4th Editions). Boston: Addison Wesley, 2003, 2009 (note 2012 edition available in March).
  • Getzen TE. Health Economics and Financing (4th Edition): Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons 2010. " Feldstein PJ. Health Care Economics (6th or 7th Edition): New York: Thomson Delmar Learning: 2005.


1ère tentative

Oral 0h25 minutes
Autorisée avec restrictions
Non autorisée

Class participation will count 15% (attendance and participation in class exercises/workshops), group case study assignment 25% (case study presentation and discussion); individual written report 30% (analysis of medical technology company); and final oral examination 30 (presentation and discussion of report).


Oral 0h25 minutes
Autorisée avec restrictions
Non autorisée

The retake oral exam will still count for 30%. Other grade elements are still counted as valid.

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