Undergraduate Course Descriptions

HCMG101 - HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS (Course Syllabus)

This introductory course takes a policy and politics angle to health care's three persistent issues - access, cost and quality. The roles of patients, physicians, hospitals, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies will be established. The interaction between the government and these different groups will also be covered. Current national health care policy initiatives and the interests of class members will steer the specific topics covered in the course. The course aims to provide skills for critical and analytical thought about the U.S. health care system and the people in it. No pass/fail. Grade only.

HCMG202 - ECON & FINCING-HLTHCR DL (Course Syllabus)

The course provides an application of economic models to demand, supply, and their interaction in the medical economy. Influences on demand, especially health status, insurance coverage, and income will be analyzed. Physician decisions on the pricing and form of their own services, and on the advice they offer about other services, will be considered. Competition in medical care markets, especially for hospital services, will be studied. Special emphasis will be placed on government as demander of medical care services. Changes in Medicare and regulation of managed care are among the public policy issues to be addressed. Prerequisite: If course requirement not met, permission of instructor required.

Prerequisites: ECON 001 OR ECON 010

HCMG203 - CLIN ISS IN HLTH CR MGMT (Course Syllabus)

This course will explore the effects of the changing health care environment on the physician, patient and health care manager. It is intended for any undergraduate with an interest in how 1/6th of the American economy is organized as well as those planning careers as health care providers and managers. The course complements other health care courses (that take a societal perspective) by focusing on the individuals who participate in the health care enterprise. There are no prerequisites, as the course will stand on its own content. The course will be divided into modules that focus on the participants of the health care process and the process itself. We will analyze the patient, the doctor, and manager in light of the patient-doctor interaction, the turbulent health care marketplace, expensive new technologies,resource allocation, and ethics.


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 tough choices, such as decisions about new technologies? Our main focus is on the systems in four large, prototypical OECD countries--Germany, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom--and then look at other countries with interesting systems- including Italy, Chile, Singapore, Brazil, China and India. We draw lessons for the U.S. from foreign experience and vice versa.

HCMG213 - HC MGMT&STRAT (Course Syllabus)

This course presents an overview of the business of health and how a variety of health care organizations have gained, sustained, and lost competitive advantage amidst intense competition, widespread regulation, high interdependence, and massive technological, economic, social and political changes. Specifically, we evaluate the challenges facing health care organizations using competitive analysis, identify their past responses, and explore the current strategies they are using to manage these challenges (and emerging ones) more effectively. Students will develop generalized skills in competitive analysis and the ability to apply those skills in the specialized analysis of opportunities in producer (e.g. biopharmaceutical, medical product, information technology), purchaser (e.g. insurance), and provider (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, physician) organizations and industry sectors. The course is organized around a number of readings, cases, presentations, and a required project.

Prerequisites: HCMG 101


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 and most profitable market. Critical issues we will examine include: R&D intensive cost structure and rapid technological change; biotech startups and alliances with the pharma industry; pricing and promotion in a complex global marketplace where customers include governments and insurers, as well as physicians, pharmacists and consumers. We use Wharton and industry experts from various disciplines to address these issues.

Prerequisites: HCMG 101 OR ECON 001 OR ECON 010


This course combines the insights of health economics with a strategic perspective on the business of health. The first section will consider the costs and benefits of medical interventions, while the second considers insurance theory and places special emphasis on the challenges facing firms in the face of the rising costs of health benefits as well as opportunities for private insurers operating in publically financed markets. The third section will analyze strategies of vertical and horizontal integration and their effect on the balance of power in local healthcare markets. Finally, the course will cover the effects of reform on firm incentives. The course will be taught using a mix of lectures and cases.

HCMG250 - HEALTH CARE REFORM (Course Syllabus)

Under stress from COVID-19, this course provides students with a rigorous understanding of the current American health care system and how it is likely to evolve over the next decade. The course will focus on six 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 including the Affordable Care Act (ACA); 4) analysis of current policies regarding provider payment, technology, and electronic health records and how various sectors (e.g. public health and hospitals) are evolving in the current system; 5) impact of COVID-19 on health care delivery and finance, and 6) future megatrends in American health care system. Throughout the course, lessons will integrate basic health economics, history, health policy, and politics to elucidate key principles for understanding the health care system. The course will also examine at least one other country's health system for comparison. The course will end with a consideration of the long-term outlook for the structure of the US health system and potential reforms.


This course provides an application of economic principles to the health care sector. By recognizing the importance of scarcity and incentives, this course will focus on the critical economic issues in producing, delivering, and financing health care. In particular, the course will analyze determinants of demand for medical care, such as health status, insurance coverage, and income; the unique role of physicians in guiding and shaping the allocation of resources in medical care markets; and competition in medical care markets, especially among hospitals. Special emphasis will be placed on the evaluation of policy instruments such as government regulation, antitrust laws, 'sin taxes' on cigarettes and alcohol, and public health programs. This course is similar to HCMG 202, but uses more advanced quantitative methods and formal economic theory; knowledge of calculus and basic microeconomics is recommended. Students who take HCMG 302 may not also take HCMG 202 (ECON 039) for further credit.

Prerequisites: ECON 001 AND (ECON 002 OR BEPP 250)


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, the economics of direct-to-consumer advertising and its effect on drug safety, defining and improving medical performance in hospitals, specialization and investment in physical and human capital, and shifting of services between inpatient and outpatient settings and its effect on health care costs and quality.

HCMG357 - 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. Other experience in data science can serve as a substitute for the prerequisites. Knowledge of basic statistics is a must. Coding experience is a plus. Experience coding to solve data/statistics problems is ideal. Further training in data science is a plus, and we welcome those with more advanced preparation.

Prerequisites: STAT 101


Delivering basic health care advances worldwide and continuing to increase lifespan and quality (in an affordable manner) represent some of the major societal challenges of our time. Addressing these challenges will require innovation in both medical technology and the ways in which health services are delivered. Through readings, cases, guest lectures, and your own entrepreneurial work outside of class, we will examine the environment facing prospective health care entrepreneurs: (1) sources of health care innovation; (2) the many "customers" in health care: patients, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and regulators; (3) the powerful established firms with developed clinical and sales expertise; (4) the investing community. Along the way we will develop a framework for thinking about what is different (and what is not) about the challenges of health care entrepreneurship.