The following courses comprise a sample of courses related to healthcare policy taught at HKS or by HKS faculty in the Fall Semester, 2018. To search a full list of HKS classes, see the HKS Course Catalog. Several of these courses are cross-listed with other Harvard schools; for the full list of Harvard courses related to health care policy, see the Harvard Course Catalog.
At Harvard Kennedy School
Introduction to U.S. Health Care Policy (SUP-500)
Faculty: Sheila Burke, Richard Frank
The aim of this course is to provide students with an overview of the U.S. health care system, its components, and the policy challenges created by the organization of the system. We will give attention to the status and implementation of the 2010 reform legislation and the ongoing budget debate in the U.S. Congress related to health care. We will focus on the major health policy institutions and important issues that cut across institutions, including private insurers and the federal/state financing programs (Medicare and Medicaid/SCHIP). In addition focus will be given to the quality of care, structure of the delivery system, the drivers of cost growth, and longterm care. The course will be a combination of lectures and discussions. The instructors will introduce topics and guide discussions. Students are expected to actively participate in the discussion. Literature from economics, politics, medical sociology, and ethics will be incorporated into discussions and written exercises. No disciplinary background is assumed, nor is any special familiarity with the field of health care required.
The Economics of Health Care Policy (SUP-572)
Faculty: Joseph Newhouse
Policy issues related to the following topics are considered in the course: the demand for medical care services, especially as a function of insurance; the demand for insurance and issues of selection; reimbursement policies of Medicare and other payers toward health plans, hospitals, and physicians; effects of health maintenance organizations and managed care; and malpractice and tort reform. The focus is mainly on the U.S., but there is some account of similar issues elsewhere. The perspective will generally be that of federal policy, although state and local perspectives will receive some attention. The course will take account of the health reform bill of 2010 and covers some methods issues. Prerequisite: API-101, API-201, and API-202 or equivalent. Also offered by the School of Public Health as HPM 227 and by the Economics Department as Economics 1460.
U.S. Healthcare Industry and Regulatory Policy (SUP 578)
Faculty: Leemore S. Dafny
The U.S. healthcare sector absorbs 17 percent of GDP, encompassing a diverse set of industries with public, nonprofit, and for-profit buyers and sellers. Regulators have a substantial opportunity (and obligation) to promote efficiency and competition in these various industries. This course will introduce participants to the key sectors comprising the healthcare industry (including insurers, pharmaceuticals, and acute and non-acute care providers) from the vantage point of the firms operating within them. We will discuss the impact of regulation (including public insurance programs) on business strategies and outcomes, with a strong emphasis on competition policy (i.e., antitrust enforcement). Virtually all examples will be U.S.-based. We will discuss select developments in U.S. healthcare reform over the past 8-9 years, particularly those affecting healthcare enterprise. Course time will be split between lectures and case discussions. Readings must be completed before class due to the interactive case-teaching method employed. Prior course in microeconomics. Statistics (through linear regression).
Core Course in Health Policy I (SUP-957)
Faculty: Joseph P. Newhouse, Richard Frank, Alan Zaslavsky
This seminar is required for doctoral candidates in health policy and is open to others by permission of the instructor. Topics covered will include the financing and organization of health care, medical manpower, medical malpractice, technology assessment, prevention, mental health, long-term care, and quality of care. Prerequisite: API-101 at the Z level, Econ 2140 or equivalent. This course is required for SUP-958. Masters students should take SUP-572 and not this course. Permission of instructor required. Also offered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Health Policy 2000 and by the School of Public Health as HPM 246.
At Harvard Business School
U.S. Healthcare Strategy (2157)
Faculty: Leemore S. Dafny
The U.S. healthcare sector accounts for nearly one-fifth of the economy, encompassing a diverse set of industries and involving organizations and regulators with a variety of objectives. This course will introduce participants to the key strategic problems facing healthcare businesses, and will illustrate how strategic principles can be applied in healthcare settings to identify sources of competitive advantage (and all too often, disadvantage).
Our emphasis will be on payers and providers, but we will also devote 20-25% of our case discussions to prescription drugs. Throughout, we will discuss U.S. healthcare reform and its implications for the various industry sectors.
Topics (examples) include: industry analysis (Oscar Health Insurance); sustaining profits over time (pharmaceutical company practices); product differentiation and entry decisions (Amgen); mergers (Boston-area hospital system consolidation); population health (Massachusetts General Hospital and Oak Street Health); vertical integration (Kaiser).
This course meets once weekly, from 1:15-3:15pm. In Fall 2018, we will typically meet on Thursdays with one Friday session on October, 27, 2018.
Field Course: Transforming Health Care Delivery (6219)
Faculty: Robert S. Huckman, Ariel D. Stern
At the root of the transformation occurring in the health care industry-both in the United States and internationally-is the fundamental challenge of improving clinical outcomes while controlling costs. Addressing this challenge will require dramatic improvements in the processes by which care is delivered to patients. This will, in turn, involve changing the organization of delivery, developing new approaches to performance measurement, and reimagining the ways in which providers are paid. This course will equip students with the tools required to design and implement these improvements.