Monday, April 16, 2018

Very Brief Blog: Harvard Case Study Provides Window into US Health System & Payers

Harvard Business School Case Studies have been famous for decades for providing a concise window into all sorts of businesses and scenarios and the challenges faced by management.   As a med school assistant professor taking MBA classes in 1999, I was struck by my first contact with these and it took a while to "get it."  Typically, a company is presented, some options or dilemmas or even a crisis, and then a portfolio of information and data.   There isn't a right answer; it's like giving you two-thirds of a novel and asking what happens next.

Rebecca Henderson and colleagues at Harvard Business School have published an unusually thorough, 32-page case in February 2018 called, "Aetna and the Transformation of Health Care."  It's available for a few dollars here.    For example, the authors frame a dilemma the CEO faces: 
"Bertolini wondered whether Aetna needed partners to make this strategy work. Should it partner with a firm like Google, Amazon, or Uber—entities that understood digital platforms and had strong consumer brands? Should Aetna double down on its investment in local communities by exploring a relationship with a company that had a major retail presence, such as Walmart, CVS, or Walgreens, or by expanding collaborative relationships with local providers?"  
The case provides background on the CVS-Aetna acquisition that is currently working through the legal channels (e.g. here).

Other interesting Harvard cases recently include the crash and fix of (podcast here, case study here) and a case study on precision medicine and the business strategies of cooperative networks for adaptive and basket trials, here.