Antidotes for Healthcare Systems. IESE Inaugurates Research Center on Healthcare Innovation Management


The need for doctors and nurses who have superior management skills is becoming acute, as medical knowledge becomes increasingly specific and health care costs escalate around the globe, said Prof. Richard Bohmer of Harvard Business School today.

Prof. Bohmer pointed out one study in which nurses reported spending just 30-40 percent of their time on core nursing duties and the rest attending to other activities, a situation that could be significantly remedied through innovation and better management.

"Increasingly, it's the organizational demands that determine health outcomes", said Prof. Bohmer, a New Zealand-trained physician who is on the faculty of HBS.

Prof. Bohmer's presentation, "The Four Habits of High-Value Healthcare", formed part of the official inauguration of IESE's Center for Research on Healthcare Innovation Management (CRHIM), a joint project of IESE and Accenture. IESE's new CRHM seeks to contribute to transforming the healthcare industry through executive education, applied research and the generation of debate within the sector.

The impact of the economic crisis on the healthcare sector, demonstrates now, more than ever, the need of innovative management to improve health, care and public finances. IESE Business School is at the vanguard of innovative management in business and public administration. Healthcare is one of the key focal industries; CRHIM's objective is to contribute to the transformation of the sector through development of applied research.

In his opening remarks during the event, IESE Prof. Josep Valor highlighted the school's initiatives in the health care sector through the years, which culminated in the launch of the new center. The CRHM will be led by IESE Professors Jaume Ribera and Magda Rosenmöller, with support from Professors such as Núria Mas and Beatriz Muñoz-Seca. Prof. Ribera moderated the closing Q&A discussion with Prof. Bohmer.

Prof. Bohmer said that as the medical field's knowledge base expands, health care organizations cannot keep pace. Hospitals and clinics urgently need to develop new delivery models in order to create value for the patient and provide high quality care, he said. He framed his talk around four key "habits" of high value care: 1) specificiation and streamlining 2) infrastructure design 3) measurement and oversight and 4) self-study.

In the final part of his discussion, Prof. Bohmer cautioned against some of the unintinded consequences of management action that can come through relentless cost cutting or intense specialization. These include physician and nurse disengagement and lower quality care. The goal when creating new management systems should not be to control doctors, but to get doctors and nurses to control their own systems in their individual contexts, he said.