The U.S. healthcare system is an enormously complex, trillion‐dollar industry, accounting for over 18% of GDP. It includes thousands of hospitals, nursing homes, specialized care facilities, independent physician practices and partnerships, web‐based and IT-supported service companies, managed care organizations, and major manufacturing corporations. It continues to grow in size and complexity, complicating the long‐standing challenges of controlling costs, expanding consumer access, and improving quality. The historic Affordable Care Act resulted in significant changes for the entire industry and subsequent federal and state legislation will continue to impact delivery and payment systems in the coming years. This tremendous dynamism is unmatched by any other industry and offers incredible opportunities for new business endeavors.
The first goal of this course is to provide an overview of the structure, dynamics, and challenges of the U.S. healthcare system. Our emphasis will be on providers, which account for the vast bulk of healthcare spending, and payers. We will explore history and current trends, interrelationships, and evolving strategies in response to policy and regulation, technological change, and increasing consumerism.
The second goal of this course is to focus on the actions that innovative firms are taking to improve the quality of patient care, manage the escalating costs of providing such care, and enhance business performance. It will analyze the attractiveness and feasibility of new approaches to address the challenges facing providers, payers, and patients operating in an inefficient, misaligned, and fragmented healthcare system. Particular emphasis will be given to the impacts of health care policy and regulation, with reference to the 2009 HITECH Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, as well as proposed changes to the ACA.
The course will be useful for students interested in careers in health system management; health insurance; healthcare IT; healthcare consulting and banking; private equity; investment management; health policy; entrepreneurship in the healthcare services sector; and pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics. There will be guest lectures by a variety of major leaders in healthcare business and policy.
Ashley Swanson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Columbia Business School and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She received her AB in Economics and Statistics from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. Professor Swanson’s research interests include industrial organization and health economics.