Course Meeting Times

1 session / week, 3 hours / session; the first 90 minutes are lectures and the final 90 minutes are tutorial/practicum sessions

Course Introduction


This innovative course is taught at Harvard Medical School and MIT each spring, beginning its tenth year in February 2009. It is cross-listed in the course catalogues of divisions of both universities, and open to students in all graduate school departments of Harvard and MIT. Residents and fellows at Harvard affiliated hospitals may audit the course. Undergraduates may enroll with the permission of the course director.

Core Concept

Innovation in healthcare requires leaders who are trained to think and act like entrepreneurs. Whether at a hospital bedside, patient’s home, or resource-poor region of the U.S. or a developing nation, healthcare leaders must understand both the business of running a healthcare organization and how to provide timely, affordable, quality patent care. Each week, the course features a lecture and skills-based tutorial session led by an industry or academic leader. The lecture provides the foundation for faculty-mentored work on industry, student, or non-profit sponsored projects that may involve creation of a market or business plan, product development, or a study design.

Interdisciplinary Faculty

Faculty, guest speaker, and project mentor biographies

The core faculty team brings to the students a complementary set of experiences and skill sets that create a mentoring environment and ’think tank’ like incubator experience that promotes creative idea generation and provides a comprehensive perspective for evaluating the evolving healthcare and biolifescience industry landscape.

The combined faculty’s area of expertise encompasses managed care practice, medical/clinical patient care, medical and bioinformatics, consumer health informatics, technology innovation and business operations experience. In addition to the core faculty team, guest faculty from leadership positions from within academics and industry help to guide students and their project ideas with a ‘firm feet on the ground’ mentality.

Combining the ongoing practice of medicine with working in the business of healthcare, the interdisciplinary faculty and student teams over the last 8 years have worked on projects to develop technology and service based solutions that can make an impact on the contemporary healthcare business environment.

Corporate Partners

We are indebted to our course corporate partners, who provide generous grants to support the student projects this semester.


None. This interdisciplinary course is for students interested in strategic development of health-related businesses, outcomes research, and point of care patient services. Students may register from MIT, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Public Health, The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Graduate Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition, undergraduates at MIT and Harvard College are eligible to register with permission.


We will show how information technologies (IT) shape and redefine the health care marketplace. Students will learn how IT enhances medical care through:

  1. Improved economies of scale,
  2. greater technical efficiencies in the delivery of care,
  3. advanced tools for patient education and self-care,
  4. network-integrated decision support tools for clinicians, and
  5. opportunities for e-health delivery over the internet.

Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to design an innovative solution to a current or future health care problem. Students’ proposed solutions will draw upon understanding of tools and principles acquired and will be presented as an application design during the final days of the course.


This interdisciplinary course will teach students how to critique and analyze various management programs and technology systems currently available to health care professionals. Lectures and tutorials will offer didactic and experiential learning opportunities. The tutorials will serve as interactive discussion and training sessions to introduce the skills and software toolsets that will be used by the students to design an original health care delivery system application. Skills will include those used by professionals in health economics, disease management, decision support, clinical effectiveness, and automated clinical trials design.


To provide a unique learning environment that brings together students and faculty from diverse backgrounds including medicine, business, law, engineering, public health, education, and social policy to harness their creativity and experience for the purpose of enhancing health care delivery.

Teaching Methods

The students will form multidisciplinary groups to analyze, develop, and present a specific disease or clinical management program which will incorporate (but is not limited to) management techniques, services, and technologies as presented during lectures and tutorials. A packet of materials will be distributed at the first tutorial that includes readings, written exercises, and instructions for the computer laboratories.


Class participation and project team exercises 30%
Final oral presentation 25%
Final report 45%

Students may elect to take the course on a Pass-Fail basis with permission from the Registrar for their academic programs.

Oral Presentation

The oral presentation and the written final report will be reviewed by the course director, co-directors, tutors/supervisors, and lecturers. These group-based assessments will be combined with an individual assessment to determine the final grade.

Project Milestones

Teams will be given an opportunity to practice their presentation skills and polish their project objectives through 3 in-class mini-presentations. Two of them will require the preparation of a 10-minute presentation on a specific topic related to the project, and one will be an elevator pitch that is delivered to an actual venture capitalist, for which the teams will receive feedback.



Welcome and course introduction

Evolution of cybermedicine

Course faculty

Dr. Warner Slack

Project description and overview
2 Industry overview: the future of healthcare

Dr. Steven Locke

Dr. Danny Sands

Lynne Dunbrack

Dr. Craig Schneider, PhD

Projects presentations
3 Federal policy as a driver for HIT innovation Dr. Karen M. Bell Project assignments
4 eHRs, pHRs & xHRs! Dr. Danny Sands Makings of a team; uniqueness and complementary assets
5 The role of innovation in enterprise computing John Glaser, CIO of Partners Healthcare Definition of an elevator pitch; key elements of business plan development
6 Classroom simulation for a product design process Dr. Bryan Bergeron Team mini-presentation 1: Project Summary
7 From disease management to population health management

Dr. Steven Locke

Dr. Danny Sands

Judith Frampton

Al Lewis

Dr. David Judge

Team Mini-Presentation 2: Uniqueness and complementary assets

Practice elevator pitch

8 An investor’s view of startups

Eugene Hill, SV Lifesciences

Yumin Choi, HLM Venture Partners

Christian Bailey, IncTank

Team Mini-Presentation 3: elevator pitch
9 Patient power; medical home; patient-centric care

Michael Lemnitzer, Philips Telehealth

Deb Theobald, Vecna

Jason Sroka, Orange Labs

Sean Khozin, HelloHealth

Mentor and team session
10 Starting up: funding sources for for-profit and social entrepreneurship

Christian Cortis, ATVentures

Anita Goel, Nanobioism

Richard Anders, Mass Medical Angels

Josko Silobrcic, HubAngels

Mentor and team session
11 Innovation

Dr. Larry Nathanson, Beth Israel Hospital

Patrick Boyle, IBM

Jeff Carter, Patients Without Borders

Stan Nowak, Silverlink Communications

Paul Crawford, Intel

12 Entrepreneurs panel

Peter T. Lomedico, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation

Ben Williams, FireFly Health

Chaim Indig, Phreesia

Josh Feast, Cogito Health

Barbara S. Fox, Avaxia Biologics

Dr. Richard Gliklich, Outcome

Final team QandA w/ mentors
13 Final project presentations    
14 Global perspective on health informatics business Keith Strier, Deloitte LLP  

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Course Introduction