Publications

    Madore A, Rosenberg J, Dreisbach T, Weintraub R. Positive Outlier: Health Outcomes in Kerala, India over Time. Harvard Business Publishing. 2018.Abstract

    This case explores how Kerala, India developed a reputation for exemplary health outcomes despite low per capita income. After providing historical background, including the social, political, and health system factors that contributed to a culture of seeking health care, the case describes Kerala’s health system and outcomes. The case describes how the fiscal decline in the latter half of the 20th century led to decreased spending on public services, including health, creating an opening for private-sector providers to meet a growing share of the demand for health services and the impact on out-of-pocket health spending. Readers must think about how emerging health threats such as noncommunicable diseases should be addressed in the 21st century, including the health department’s response and a new initiative to increase capacity in the public health sector, including efforts to improve the quality and reliability of health data through an electronic medical record system. The case concludes with Additional Chief Secretary for Health and Family Welfare Rajeev Sadanandan wondering if the new strategy will succeed and if Kerala can maintain its status as a positive outlier in health for the decades to come.

    Teaching Note available for registered faculty through Harvard Business Publishing and the Case Centre.

    Learning Objectives: to appreciate the relationships between education, literacy, and health; what the components of a health system are; the limitations of health indicators as measures of a national health system’s effectiveness; and, the challenges of sustaining demand and maintaining the supply and quality of public health services over time.

    Key words: health care policy, universal health care, demand generation, health care delivery, health system, health outcomes, social determinants of health

    Rosenberg J, Dreisbach T, Donovan C, Weintraub R. Positive Outlier: Sri Lanka’s Health Outcomes over Time. Harvard Business Publishing. 2018.Abstract

    This case describes the development and structure of Sri Lanka’s health system, which has yielded health outcomes far superior to any of its South Asian neighbors. The case highlights factors supporting the health outcomes, including the availability of free health services to all citizens, government investment in the health workforce, and the care-seeking behavior of Sri Lankan citizens. After providing an overview of Sri Lanka’s history, geography, demographics, and economy, the case traces the evolution of the public sector health system from the precolonial era through the period of heavy investment in health from the 1930s through 1950s and on into the 21st century. The case describes the management of the system and the relationship between the national health ministry and provincial and local governments. It examines how health professionals are trained and deployed throughout the system, the supply chain, and financing. The case then examines the growing private health sector, its relationship with the public sector, and the role of innovation. After a summary of the country’s health outcomes, readers are pushed to think about what it will take to address the changing epidemiological burden to continue to boast exemplary health outcomes and provide quality health care to those who need it.

    ​​​​​​Teaching Note available to registered faculty through Harvard Business Publishing or the Case Centre.

    A productive class discussion will allow readers to appreciate the capabilities of a public payer system to improve the health of the population; the influence of the private sector in a “single payer system” and the downstream effects on demand and supply of services; the return on investment for a country offering free public medical and nursing education; and the relationship between literacy, demand generation, and health outcomes.

    Keywords: Universal health care, health care delivery, health system, health outcomes, social determinants of health.

    Madore A, Rosenberg J, Weintraub R. Project ECHO: Expanding the Capacity of Primary Care Providers to Address Complex Conditions. Harvard Business Publishing. 2017.Abstract

    This case takes place in the United States (US) and traces the inception and growth of Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO)—a web-based "guided practice" model for primary care providers—from 2003 to 2016. After providing background on the US health system, including medical education, health care financing, and the supply and distribution of primary care and specialist providers, the case explores what motivated Project ECHO founder and liver specialist Sanjeev Arora, MD to train primary care providers in rural New Mexico in hepatitis C treatment and management. It describes early replication of the ECHO model in the US and across medical conditions and what the Project ECHO model entailed—including leveraging technology to expand access to specialty resources, best practices, case-based learning, and outcome monitoring, as well as good will among participants. A professional communications campaign, ongoing research, and persistence supported Project ECHO’s growth. The case displays three dimensions of Project ECHO’s early work: creating a new mode to redistribute the expertise of specialists to primary care practitioners, scaling this new care delivery model and measuring its impact, and identifying sustainable funding sources. The case concludes with the US Congress passing the ECHO Act to promote research on the model and Arora contemplating what else he might need to continue to scale to reach his goal of touching 1 billion lives.

    Teaching Note available through Harvard Business Publishing. 

    TeleECHO Clinic - hub and spoke
    TeleECHO Clinic. Source: Case writers.

    ECHO Institute
    ECHO Institute. Source: Case writers.

    Learning Objectives: To understand what is needed to design a service model; the potential for redistribution of expertise among practitioners to enhance value; the role of operational effectiveness in enabling scale up; and the importance of measuring impact for stakeholders.

    Keywords: Public health, health care delivery, scale-up, resource-limited settings, human resource, information technology, primary care, information management, data collection, mentorship