Category: Health Sector

Professor Alan Cohen Joins Federal Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems

April 16th, 2013 in Faculty, Health Sector, Honors & Awards, Markets, Public Policy & Law, News

Assisting Institute on Research for Better Patient Decisions & Outcomes

Professor Alan CohenBoston University School of Management’s Alan Cohen has been appointed to the federal Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

PCORI is an institute authorized by Congress to research and provide information to both patients and health care providers with the goal of enabling more informed medical and health-related decisions.

According to PCORI, the Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems is one of four panels appointed to represent the institute’s “broad stakeholder community.” In addition to enhancing healthcare systems, these expert panels will guide PCORI’s efforts to improve patient engagement, address disparities, and enable better patient and practitioner assessment of options for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Along with twenty other leading researchers, clinicians, industry representatives, policymakers, and patient advocates in the field of improving healthcare systems and outcomes, Professor Cohen will help the institute “refine and prioritize research questions, provide needed scientific and technical expertise….and help us model full and meaningful patient and stakeholder engagement efforts.”

Cohen is a professor of health policy and management at Boston University and executive director of the School’s Health Policy Institute. He was formerly vice president for Research and Evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropic organization dedicated solely to public health, where in 2012 he was named a “Luminary” for his role in research and initiatives having a major impact on the field in the previous forty years. Cohen is also principal author of the book Technology in American Health Care: Policy Directions for Effective Evaluation and Management.

Read more about PCORI, the Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems, or Professor Cohen’s honor as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Luminary.”

Winners of the 2013 Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health Announced

April 5th, 2013 in Case Competition, Graduate Students, Health Sector, News, School

Fifteen teams competed in first-of-its-kind event hosted by SMG

A team of MBA students from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University won first place in the Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health, sponsored by Merck and hosted by Boston University School of Management on March 21-23, 2013. The event was also sponsored by Microsoft and the MS·MBA Association.

All 15 teams came together for a dinner reception and networking at Microsoft in Cambridge, Mass.

All 15 teams came together for a dinner reception and networking at Microsoft in Cambridge, Mass.

Formerly the International Technology Strategy Case Competition, the two-day event challenged teams of MBA students from the world’s leading business schools to offer their ideas on how Merck could leverage information technology to transform global healthcare and create value for the world. Unlike a traditional case competition, the Grand Business Challenge allowed for networking and cross-team collaboration, utilized a live case, and allowed each team to focus on one of four tracks of digital health: individual, interconnected, information, and international.

On the first day of the event, each team presented their ideas on challenges in one of the four tracks of digital health. A panel of industry judges selected a winning team from each track to compete in the final round of the Grand Business Challenge the following day.

The Fuqua School of Business (pictured above) was awarded first place for their MercKIT solution, a mobile, cloud-based health clinic kit equipped for front line diagnosis and the treatment of infectious diseases. The team also won the Audience Choice Prize.

The second place team from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, developed a patient-centered mobile phone platform, customizable by country and culture, to engage patients in their health and bolster growth in emerging economies.

Boston University School of Management placed third for their concept, the Adhero platform. Using existing digestible sensor technology embedded on pills, the platform would collect data on medication adherence, provide rewards or reminders to patients, and send data back to providers. Fourth place team University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business proposed an online portal that would facilitate information and a sense of community between customers, payers, producers, and providers.

Teams also had the opportunity to win grants from Microsoft BizSpark to further develop their ideas on digital health. The Microsoft BizSpark Challenge winners were teams from IPADE Business School – Mexico, Neeley School of Business, Anderson School of Management, Tepper School of Business, and a team with members from Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The fifteen participating teams were:

  • Boston University School of Management
  • Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business
  • Cornell University Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
  • Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business
  • El Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE Business School – Mexico)
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School
  • Indian School of Business
  • Seoul National University Business School
  • Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business
  • University of Arizona Eller College of Management
  • University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Anderson School of Management
  • University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
  • University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

Read a blog post from the Grand Business Challenge’s Volunteer Coordinator Laura Wasowski (MS·MBA’13) about the event.

    Washington Post’s Wonkblog Spotlights Keith Ericson on Obamacare, Enrollment, and Labels

    April 4th, 2013 in Faculty, Faculty in the News, Health Sector, Markets, Public Policy & Law, News

    “It’s a mandate! It’s a tax! How word choice effects Obamacare enrollment.”

    Keith Marzilli EricsonThe Washington Post‘s Wonkblog, in their Health Reform Watch column, recently spotlighted a study co-authored by Boston University’s Keith Marzilli Ericson on the impact of terminology on enrollment in mandated health insurance. Ericson, an assistant professor of markets, public policy, and law at the School of Management, is also co-author of a related National Bureau of Economic Research paper titled “Pricing Regulation and Imperfect Competition on the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange.”

    As The Washington Post reports,

    It was this week, one year ago, that the Affordable Care Act had its day in court—the Supreme Court, that is.

    The health care law had the longest oral arguments of any case the high court has heard; supporters lined up for a seat in the courthouse four days in advance.

    Obamacare’s mandated purchase of health coverage survived the challenge. It may not, however, have gotten off scot free: New research suggests the controversy over the mandate may been a blow to its credibility—and Americans’ willingness to comply.

    That’s the takeaway from a new paper, authored by Boston University’s Keith Marzilli Ericson and University of Pennsylvania’s Judd Kessler that looks at the difference between describing the health law’s penalty for not carrying insurance as a “mandate” or a “tax.”

    The two are, as Ericson describes it, “logically identical.” Beginning in 2014, a person who fails to purchase health insurance will pay a $95 fine, regardless of whether they consider that a tax penalty or a fee for non-compliance with the mandate.

    Ericson, whose research focuses on the intersection of health insurance and behavioral economics, had an inkling that the description would matter. He has researched the Massachusetts health reform effort, where a mandate helped the state achieve the highest rate of insurance in the country.

    “We expected that the mandate would encourage insurance purchase more than a tax,” he says. “We thought that it establishes a social norm, and a sense of obligation.”

    Read the full article at The Washington Post‘s Wonkblog.

    Banner photo courtesy of flickr user DigiDreamGrafix.com

    Eduniversal Ranks Seven BU School of Management Masters Programs Among Top 25 Globally

    January 11th, 2013 in Health Sector, News, Press Release, Rankings, School

    SMG’s Health Sector Management and Public & Nonprofit programs ranked 3rd in the world

    Seven of Boston University School of Management’s masters programs have been ranked among the top 25 globally in the 2013 Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking. The School’s Health Sector Management and Public & Nonprofit programs both landed the #3 spot in their respective categories, while the International MBA program placed 9th globally. The School’s Executive MBA program placed 16th.

    This annual ranking evaluates individual academic programs rather than institutions, and is based solely on external perceptions. The top 1,000 business schools worldwide are included in the ranking.

    The Eduniversal International Scientific Committee bases the rankings on three main criteria: (1) the program’s reputation according to the opinion of international HR professionals, (2) starting salary of recent graduates, and (3) student satisfaction.

    The School’s Full-Time MBA program placed 20th globally, the Math Finance program ranked 15th, and the Investment Management program came in at #24.

    Visit EDUniversal’s website to view the complete ranking.

    Keith Ericson Authors NBER Study on Mandates in Health Insurance Exchanges

    January 2nd, 2013 in Emerging Research, Faculty, Health Sector, Markets, Public Policy & Law, News

    “Pricing Regulation and Imperfect Competition on the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange”

    A new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study, authored by Keith M. Marzilli Ericson and Amanda Starc and focused on pricing regulation in health insurance exchanges (HIE), shows that purchasing mandates can be essential to the functioning of this entire market.

    Keith EricsonEricson is an assistant professor of markets, public policy, and law at Boston University School of Management. Starc is an assistant professor of health care management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Their study, “Pricing Regulation and Imperfect Competition on the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange,” explores pricing regulation, consumer demand, and insurer profits in HIE, which are government-run marketplaces for private insurance. The authors use data from Massachusetts’s HIE, the first  in the nation, and then apply these data to the broader functioning of health exchanges themselves. Their focus on the mandate, requiring citizens to purchase a minimum level of insurance, sheds light on one of the most controversial issues in Congress’ recent struggles over health care across America.

    HIEs: An Ideal Context for Exploring Consumer Welfare, Regulation, and Profit

    The authors point out that HIEs offer an ideal opportunity to study issues of consumer welfare, competition, government regulation, and firm profits, as they offer a wide range of choice to consumers in the context of a heavily regulated environment. Moreover, in the next few years, a projected 20 million Americans across the country will purchase health insurance through these exchanges, as the 2010 Affordable Care Act has mandated that states and the federal government develop HIEs.

    But Ericson and Starc note a lack of previous research exploring how insurance pricing regulation actually functions in markets where firms have some market power to charge prices above their costs—a condition they refer to as “imperfect competition.”

    Their new NBER study fills this gap.

    “If the Mandate Is Removed, Markets Can Unravel”

    Ericson and Starc first execute a series of simulations based on data from the Massachusetts HIE to show how changing regulations on insurers can vary prices between different types of consumers (such as older vs. younger consumers) and can impact other important and controversial insurance market regulations, such as minimum loss ratios (which attempt to limit insurer profits), risk adjustment (which attempts to equalize insurers’ costs derived from insuring different populations), and mandated insurance purchase (which attempts to ensure market participation).

    Ultimately, the study’s simulations show that if the mandate is removed, markets can unravel, due to differences in preferences across a broad population where a significant segment of that population would be willing to withdraw from the market altogether if they can’t find a price they are willing to pay.

    If consumers are allowed to opt out of coverage, the authors note, the most price-sensitive consumers—who tend to be both young and relatively healthy—will tend to opt out. As these consumers opt out, the less price-sensitive consumers—who tend to be both older and have higher health costs—are the ones remaining in the market, which in turn leads to higher markups. If enough people are willing to drop out of the market altogether, the authors note, “a death spiral” can occur. “As a result,” Ericson and Starc show, “a weak or absent mandate may negate the consumer surplus gains achieved” from the other regulations still in place.

    Read more about the study “Pricing Regulation and Imperfect Competition on the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange.”

    Banner photo courtesy of flickr user Images_of_Money.

    Top Health Executives Discuss “Bending the Cost Curve? Innovative Models of Healthcare Delivery”

    December 17th, 2012 in Health Sector, News

    On November 26, two top executives from the Boston area health sector discussed the innovative models their organizations have developed to meet consumer needs more effectively while containing cost. The event was part of the School’s Health Sector Speaker Series.

    The discussion with featured executives Andrew Sussman, MD, President of CVS Minute Clinic, and Ralph de la Torre, MD, President and CEO of Steward Healthcare was moderated by Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session and a networking reception with faculty, staff, alumni, and student attendees.



    Stephen Davidson in Huffington Post on What Winning Means for Medicare and More

    November 19th, 2012 in Faculty, Health Sector, Markets, Public Policy & Law, News

    Stephen M DavidsonThe Huffington Post‘s latest opinion piece by Boston University School of Management’s Stephen M. Davidson is titled What Winning Means” and explores compromise, Congress, and Obama’s powers post-election to impact healthcare and more. Davidson is Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law at the School of Management and author of the book Still Broken: Understanding the U.S. Health Care System.

    An excerpt from “What Winning Means” appears here:

    …Now that the 2012 election is behind us, the first big question is whether or not the Republicans, having lost the White House and the Senate, will follow that tradition. Even more, it is whether John Boehner, as Speaker of the House can keep the members on his rightward fringe in check and be able both to craft compromises with the Democrats and to deliver enough votes that, when added to those of House Democrats, legislation can pass that moves the country forward on the many problems we face. If he cannot, how will the president respond? And what will he be able to do on his own, without legislation, to address those vexing problems…

    On Medicare, both candidates proposed cutting spending–they even agreed on the amount. But the president, wanting to preserve the program’s value for seniors and others who depend on Medicare, proposed doing it without reducing benefits. Instead, he would save millions by ending the windfall that private insurers earn from the Medicare Advantage program and by reducing payments to some providers. He would also use Medicare policy to stimulate providers of services to find ways to improve the quality of care and keep down the costs. Republicans defined the Medicare problem more simply. They just want to limit federal spending, which they would do by capping it at a fixed amount and distributing those funds to Medicare beneficiaries in the form of vouchers. Then, the beneficiaries would apply the vouchers toward the purchase of coverage in the private health insurance marketplace. The main problem, of course, is that Republicans cannot guarantee that the voucher would cover all the services people need or that it would keep up with the rising cost of insurance. Inevitably, beneficiaries would wind up with less coverage than they have now.

    It is fair to say that, to the extent that voters focused on policy issues like these, the majority voted for the president’s proposals and rejected those of Governor Romney and his fellow Republicans. So, why doesn’t the election result entitle the president to act on these matters as he said he would? And, to the extent that the Congress must act (e.g., on tax and spending legislation), why doesn’t it leave members of the House and Senate to make adjustments around the edges? Isn’t that what winning means?

    Read the full opinion piece here.

    Winners of 1st Annual Global Health Sector Interdisciplinary Case Competition Announced

    November 16th, 2012 in Case Competition, Health Sector, News

    A team of MBA students from Harvard Business School won first place in the 1st Annual Global Health Sector Interdisciplinary Case Competition, sponsored by DePuy Synthes Spine, a Johnson & Johnson Company, and hosted by Boston University.

    Sam Schweizer (MBA'13), Committee Chair; Mark Allan, Director of Health Sector Management Program, Boston University School of Management; Max Reinhardt, V.P. Worldwide Marketing at DePuy Synthes Spine companies of Johnson & Johnson; Shirley Leong, Jason Bae, Judith Li, Jesse Li of Harvard Business School; Andrea Sodano, Executive-in-Residence and Tim Beardsley, Worldwide Director of R&D, DePuy Synthes Spine.

    Sam Schweizer (MBA'13), Committee Chair; Mark Allan, Director of Health Sector Management Program, Boston University School of Management; Max Reinhardt, V.P. Worldwide Marketing at DePuy Synthes Spine companies of Johnson & Johnson; Shirley Leong, Jason Bae, Judith Li, Jesse Li of Harvard Business School; Andrea Sodano, Executive-in-Residence, Boston University School of Management; and Tim Beardsley, Worldwide Director of R&D, DePuy Synthes Spine.

    The invitation-only competition, worth $32,500 in prizes, challenged teams of students from the world’s leading MBA programs to solve a health sector market challenge. Each team had 24 hours to develop a proposal recommending a course of action on a strategic business initiative focused on current issues related to medical devices in the global health sector. The teams then presented their findings before a panel of judges from leading health sector companies, including sponsor DePuy Synthes Spine.

    The competition is unique due to its interdisciplinary nature; in addition to MBA students, each team included a public health, medicine, engineering, or law student. The event took place at Boston University School of Management on November 1-3, 2012.

    The winning team from Harvard Business School was awarded the top prize of $20,000. Team members included Jason Bae, Shirley Leong, Jesse Li, and Judith Li. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, came in second place, and Fuqua School of Business, Duke University came in third place. The finalists were announced during an awards reception on Saturday, November 3.

    The schools who competed in this year’s event included:

    • Boston University School of Management
    • CEIBS (China Europe International Business School)
    • Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
    • Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
    • Harvard Business School, Harvard University
    • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
    • IPADE Business School, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico
    • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
    • Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
    • Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science

    Student Parker Oks Featured in “New York Times”

    November 13th, 2012 in Health Sector, News, Sectors, Students, Undergraduate Students

    On Monday, October 15, 2012, School of Management freshman Parker Oks (BSBA’16) and his website AppointmentStatus.com were featured in a New York Times article about healthcare innovations helping patients, “The Doctor Can See You Now.”

    Excerpts from the New York Times:

    Often the worst part of a visit to the doctor isn’t the awkward hospital gown, needle sticks, or embarrassing physical exams — it’s the drawn-out wait, camped out in the reception room in the company of sick patients and old magazines.

    During a particularly long wait to see his dermatologist, Parker Oks, 18, thought there had to be a better way.

    “They know approximately how long an appointment will take,” said Mr. Oks, a freshman at Boston University. “But the problem is that they don’t know how long it will actually take.”

    That realization led Mr. Oks to create Appointment Status, a Web site devoted to improving appointment efficiency and providing patients with information to avoid long waits. Working with three teenagers from Staten Island Technical High School, where he had gone, Mr. Oks aims to make it easier for patients to schedule appointments — and to find out how far behind the doctor may be before settling into a waiting room chair.

    Appointment Status is designed to assist patients before they even take a seat in a waiting room — a sore point for many patients, as doctors well know. In a survey conducted by the doctor-review Web site Vitals, patients reported an average wait time of 21 minutes to see a doctor. Mississippi had the longest reported wait time, at just over 25 minutes.

    Read the full article on Oks and other innovators helping patients today on the New York Times.

    Faculty in the News: July 12, 2012

    July 17th, 2012 in Faculty, Faculty in the News, Health Sector, News

    BU experts on CEOs, Affordable Care Act, and banks

    SMG_newsBoston University Public Relations’ Professor Voices blog features a sampling of quotes by experts from BU’s School of Management on recent issues impacting the business world:

    “CEOs are not hired to take blame. The board wants a CEO who is going to proclaim victory, or better, achieve it.” (P&G to Philip Morris Blame Currency for Forecast CutsBloomberg)
    James Post

    “The new CEO needs to be separated from the bonus culture that is a cancer on the industry. A fixed salary with some long-term performance shares makes good sense for now.” (Diamond Antithesis Seen As Key Step To Repairing BarclaysBloomberg)
    James Post

    “In the wake of the Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, many Republicans are focusing their opposition on states’ rights.” (No Letup in the Health-Law DebateNew York Times)
    Stephen Davidson

    “Banks can only be as strong or weak as the economy.” (As Economy Steadies, Bank Closings Become RarerAssociated Press)
    Mark Williams

    See more commentary from faculty on the Public Relations blog:

    Explore our website to learn more about faculty news & honors.