MBA Course Descriptions

HCMG653 - HCMG FIELD APP PROJECT (Course Syllabus)

This course focuses on leadership and management issues in health care organizations while providing students with a practice setting to examine and develop their own management skills. Each team acts as a consultant to a local healthcare organization which has submitted a project proposal to the course. The teams define the issue and negotiate a contract with the client organization. By the end of the semester, teams present assessments and recommendations for action to their clients and share their experience with the class in a series of workshops and cross-team consultations.

Prerequisites: HCMG 841. Health Care Management MBA students only.

Other Information: Seminar and workshop, a written and oral presentation of the team management study and an individual paper.

HCMG841 - HEALTH SERVICES SYS (Course Syllabus)

This course provides an overview of the evolution, structure and current issues in the health care system. It examines the unique features of health care as a product, and the changing relationships between patients, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, communities, and government. The course examines three broad segments of the health care industry: payors, providers and suppliers. Within the payor segment, the course examines the sources and destinations of spending, managed care (HMOs, PPOs),employer based health insurance, technology assessment, payor strategy, and efforts to pay for the elderly, the poor & the medically indigent. Within the provider segment, the course examines the impact of cost containment and competition on hospitals and integrated delivery systems, long term care and disease management, and the important role of epidemiology in assessing population health needs and risks. Within the supplier segment, the course will examine developments in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical devices, genomics and IT industries. NOTE: This is a required course for Wharton Graduate Health Care Management majors; it counts as an elective course for all other Wharton Graduate students. It is also open to Law School and Nursing School students with a joint Wharton Program.

Other Information: Lectures and cases. Weekly reading assignments.

HCMG845 - MANAGED CARE & INTEG HC (Course Syllabus)

This course, co-taught with Brad Fluegel, former Senior Vice President and Chief Healthcare Marketing Development officer at Walgreen Co, will focus on two interrelated topics: managed care and market structure. The section on managed care will cover strategic planning and marketing of managed care services, operational issues in developing a managed care network, actuarial issues, and the management of physician behavior. The section on health care market structure will analyze strategies of vertical integration and horizontal integration (M+As), and their attempt to alter the balance of power in local healthcare markets. The section will also analyze the operational issues in managing cost and quality in an integrated system, integration along the supply chain, and the performance of these systems, and the bargaining and negotiation between hospitals, physicians, and health plans.

Other Information: Lectures, cases, exam, and orally presented term project.

HCMG849 - FIN MGMT HEALTH INST (Course Syllabus)

This course focuses on health care organizations' financing and financial decisions in the changing health care landscape. The course involves case analyses and lectures, including presentations by practitioners with extensive real-world experience. Students seeking careers in health care with minimal finance background will obtain a solid introduction to key areas of health care finance and financial decision making. Students with more background will extend and enhance their analytical skills in a variety of important areas.

Prerequisites: Finance 611 or 614, equivalent coursework or experience

Other Information: Lecture and cases with individual and group assignments.

HCMG850 - HEALTH CARE REFORM (Course Syllabus)

This course provides students with a rigorous understanding of the American health care system. The course will focus on five topics: 1) the development of the current health care system; 2) challenges of health care costs, quality, and access; 3) lessons of previous attempts to reform the system and enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); 4) the impact of the ACA on the financing, organization, delivery, and outcomes of the health care system; and 5) probable future evolution of the American health care system. Throughout the course, lessons will integrate health economics, health policy, and politics to elucidate key principles for understanding the health care system. The course will end with a consideration of the long-term outlook for health reform in the United States, including recent pushes for "Medicare for All." The U.S. health care system is the worlds largest, most technologically advanced, most expensive, with uneven quality, and an unsustainable cost structure. This multi-disciplinary course will explore the history and structure of the current American health care system and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. How did the United States get here? The course will examine the history of and problems with employment-based health insurance, the challenges surrounding access, cost and quality, and the medical malpractice conundrum. As the Affordable Care Act is implemented over the next decade, the U.S. will witness tremendous changes that will shape the American health care system for the next 50 years of more. The course will examine potential reforms, including those offered by liberals and conservatives and information that can be extracted from health care systems in other developed countries. The second half of the course will explore key facets of the Affordable Care Act, including improving access to care and health insurance exchanges, improving quality and constraining costs through health care delivery system reforms, realigning capacity through changes in workforce and medical education, and potential impact on biomedical and other innovation. The course will also examine the political context and process of passing major legislation in general and health care legislation in particular, including constitutional arguments surrounding the Affordable Care Act. Throughout lessons will integrate the disciplines of health economics, health and social policy, law and political science to elucidate key principles.


The purpose of this course is to apply economics to an analysis of the health care industry, with special emphasis on the unique characteristics of the US healthcare markets, from pre-hospital to post-acute care. This course focuses on salient economic features of health care delivery, including: the role of nonprofit providers, the effects of regulation and antitrust activity on hospitals, the degree of input substitutability within hospitals, the nature of competition in home health care, public versus private provision of emergency medical services, the effect of specialty hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, defining and improving medical performance in hospitals, specialization and investment in physical and human capital, shifting of services between inpatient and outpatient settings and its effect on health care costs and quality, and innovation in primary care from retail clinics to patient-centered medical homes and retainer-based medicine.

Other Information: Written exam and student presentation.

HCMG853 - MGMT&STRAT MED DEVICES (Course Syllabus)

Successful medical devices are an amalgamation of creative and innovative thinking, clinical expertise, and engineering know-how that endures intense regulatory and reimbursement scrutiny. This course will provide a foundation for understanding the nuances of the medical device industry. It will cover topics ranging from device design and discovery, regulatory issues, marketing, reimbursement, management, and strategy. Classroom activities will be supplemented with optional tours of hospitals, research and manufacturing facilities, and hands-on demonstrations of devices. Though the course is intended primarily for MBA students, it will be open to medical and engineering students as well as to hospital house staff.

HCMG855 - MGMT HLTH CRE FOR ELDRLY (Course Syllabus)

This mini course is designed to provide students with an appreciation of the good, the bad and the ugly of how our current health care system cares for one of our nation's most precious resources - our seniors! This course will review care provided to seniors within a variety of institutional settings (hospitals, nursing facilities, various senior housing levels) as well as outpatient and home care services. Special attention will be paid to nursing homes and senior housing options and their past, present and future role within the overall health care system in the United States. The course will start with an overview of the senior population with special attention to their health and social needs. Several classes will be held off campus at selected nursing facilities and senior housing complexes. In addition, a broad range of special programs and services will be reviewed such as sub-acute care, long term care insurance, Medicare Risk Programs, elderly housing, adult day care, managed care, Medicare Part D, case management, hospice and other recent developments. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on entrepreneurial opportunities to serve the senior market at all levels. Students are required to produce a paper for this course that focuses on a specific area impacting the senior market. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to select an area of personal interest and conduct an in depth review of that area including making direct contact with national experts within the topic selected. All student topics must be approved during the first two weeks of class and the depth of research required agreed upon by the by the student and the instructor. Interested students not in the HCMG major are urged to speak to the instructor before enrolling in the course.

HCMG857 - HC DATA AND ANALYTICS (Course Syllabus)

In healthcare or anywhere else across science, or business, or sports, the importance of data and analytics is virtually unquestioned. That, however, does not mean that it needs no elucidation. In this course, we begin with a fundamental understanding of the state of data and analytics in healthcare and then move onto examples of its use in converting from business questions to implemented solutions. We "sidestep" into the world of algorithms/machine-learning/AI and causal inference, but our focus is on business applications of these tools to the available data in the healthcare industry. As we discuss examples, we always seek to show how human creativity needs to be at the heart of the questions being probed. We highlight today's data universe in healthcare, the level of integration we have achieved, and the immensity of the remaining task, all with an eye to the business opportunities that exist now. We end with a showcasing of the art of the possible - in 2020 - and with (hopefully) a clear look ahead at what remains to be achieved. At the end of this course, students will: 1. Know the health care data landscape; 2. Understand the "loop" that drives modern evidence-based businesses; 3. Dive into real health care data analytics problems, developing a first-hand familiarity with basic tools and concepts; 4. Anticipate the business opportunities evolving in health care data and analytics. Experience in data science if prerequisite not met.

Prerequisites: STAT 613 or 621

Other Information: Pursuit of MBA - we expect most students to be 2nd years. We assume no prior knowledge of statistical tools/concepts beyond the level of the MBA Core, though of course further training in data science is a plus, and we welcome those with more advanced preparation.


This course examines the structure of health care systems in different countries, focusing on financing, reimbursement, delivery systems and adoption of new technologies. We study the relative roles of private sector and public sector insurance and providers, and the effect of system design on cost, quality, efficiency and equity of medical services. Some issues we address are normative: Which systems and which public/private sector mixes are better at achieving efficiency and equity? Other issues are positive: How do these different systems deal with the tough choices, such as decisions about new technologies? Our focus first on the systems in four large, prototypical OECD countries- Germany, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom -and then look at other developed and emerging countries with interesting systems - including Italy, Chile, Singapore, Brazil, China and India. We will draw lessons for the U.S. from foreign experience and vice versa.

Prerequisites: HCMG or ECON course

HCMG860 - MANAGING HC ORGS (Course Syllabus)

This course aims to improve enrollees' ability to effectively manage and lead health care organizations (HCOs, including hospitals, medical groups, insurers, biopharmaceutical firms, etc.). The course is designed to integrate previous course work in general managment, health care, and health policy to further participants' understanding of organizational, managerial, and strategic issues facing HCOs and the health care workforce. The course will provide participants with a foundation for developing, implementing, and analyzing efforts to improve HCOs' performance. A major objective of the course is to sharpen the leadership, problem-solving, and presentation skills of those who aim to hold operational and strategic positions in health care organizations. Another objective is to introduce enrollees to leading HCOs. Through case studies, readings, in-class exercises and class discussions, particpants will learn analytic frameworks, concepts, tools and skills necessary for leading and managing organizational learning, quality improvement, innovation, and overall performance in HCOs.


This course provides an overview of the management, economic and policy issues facing the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The course perspective is global, but with emphasis on the U.S. as the largest and most profitable market. Critical issues we will examine include: R&D intensive cost structure with regulation and rapid technological change; strategic challenges of biotech startups; pricing and promotion in a complex global marketplace where customers include governments and insurers, as well as physicians and consumers; intense and evolving M&A, joint ventures, and complex alliances; government regulation of all aspects of business including market access, pricing, promotion, and manufacturing. We use Wharton and industry experts from various disciplines to address these issues.


This course will introduce students to the main components of Health Information Technology (HIT) and how HIT currently effects, and in the future, may change health care operating models. Although it will not prepare students for primary technology management positions, it will help them understand the role of information technology in the success of the delivery system and other important healthcare processes. It will provide a foundation that will prepare them as managers, investors and consultants to rely upon or manage information technology to accomplish delivery system objectives. The course will give special attention to key health care processes, and topics such as the drive for provider quality and cost improvements, the potential ability to leverage clinical data for care improvement and product development, the growth of new information technologies for consumer directed healthcare and telemedicine, the strategies and economics of individual HIT companies and the role of government. The course relies heavily on industry leaders to share their ideas and experiences with students.


The course focuses on the creation, funding, and management of digital health, biotech, medtech, and other health services enterprises. The course is designed to supplement other offerings in the Health Care Systems and Management Departments for those students with entrepreneurial interest in such ventures, and will focus on special issues surrounding the conceptualization, planning, diligence, and capitalization of these ventures and also includes management and compensation practices. In addition, course offers methods for self-assessment & development of business models and plans, techniques for technology assessment and strategy, develops foundation for capitalization and partnering strategies, and creates a basis for best practices in company launch and plan execution. Students must apply to take this course. Please see the Health Care Management Department for the application.

HCMG868 - PRIV SEC ROLE GLOB HLTH (Course Syllabus)

Issues surrounding global health have captivated the attention of the public sector and foundations for many decades. Many of their initiatives are realizing progress on the health-related Millennium Development Goals. The private sector has been less engaged in global health, but has a significant role to play in providing resources and in building infrastructure, human resource capacity and sustainability. This course explores entrepreneurial and other private sector solutions for health services and access to medicines and technologies in the developing world and other underserved areas. The course also encompasses study of creative programs to engage the private sector in development of vaccines and medicines for tropical and neglected diseases. Furthermore, the course addresses novel care systems and therapeutic strategies for the rapidly growing burden of chronic, non-communicable diseases in the developing world. In short, the course builds on the content of conventional global health courses from a managerial and entrepreneurial perspective. Learning is driven through readings, class discussion and a series of guest speakers representing a wide range of global health issues. Evaluation is largely based on a student group project.


HCMG 890-001: This course examines issues related to the Services Sector of thehealth care industry. For those interested in management, investing, or bankingto the health care industry, the services sector will likely be the largest and most dynamic sector within all of health care. We will study key management issues related to a number of different health care services businesses with a focus on common challenges related to reimbursement, regulatory, margin, growth, and competitive issues. We will look at a number of different businesses and subsectors that may have been unfamiliar to students prior to taking the course. We will make extensive use of outside speakers, many of whom will be true industry leaders within different sectors of the health care services industry. Speakers will address the current management issues they face in running their businesses as well as discuss the career decisions and leadership styles that enables them to reach the top of their profession. Students will be asked to develop a plan to both buyout and manage a specific health care services business of their choosing and will present their final plans to a panel of leading Health Care Private Equity investors who will evaluate their analysis. Prerequisites: HCMG 841. Health Care Management MBA majors only Senior healthcare executives and policy leaders will be engaged as guest speakers.

HCMG899 - INDEPENDENT STUDY (Course Syllabus)

Arranged with members of the Faculty of the Health Care Systems Department. For further information contact the Department office, Room 204, Colonial Penn Center, 3641 Locust Walk, 898-6861.