Health Care Management and Policy

The concentration in health care management and policy focuses on the management, financing, and economics of the health care sector. Students learn about health care markets and factors that significantly influence decision making both at the policy level and at the level of the firm or organization. The health care sector includes government agencies, non-profit institutions, major private corporations, medical practices and partnerships, and many small and early-stage health care service and product firms.

Health-care-related organizations are usually categorized into three groups: Providers (e.g., hospitals, physicians, nurses), Payers (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies), and Suppliers (e.g., pharmaceutical/biotech firms, diagnostic and medical equipment companies, e-health vendors). In addition, there are many service firms which specialize in health care including consulting, investment banking, private equity, and venture capital firms. Students gain solid understanding of the relationships among payers, providers, and suppliers.

Is there a particular course or experience that can help determine if this concentration is a good fit?

HCMG 1010: Health Care Systems is an introductory course that takes a policy and politics angle to health care’s three persistent issues – access, cost and quality.

Students should also consider an internship in a health care organization or speaking with MBA students who have worked in a part of health care that is of interest. The Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club is probably the best way to get access to speakers and meet students who are in the concentration.

What qualities/skills are good to have when going into this concentration?

Since this is an industry-specific concentration, many skill sets are needed. Most of our concentrators have some knowledge of health care and some are even premed or want to combine business and science or business and management of a socially important enterprise.

What skills or knowledge will students gain from this concentration?

Students will gain an understanding of the key characteristics and dynamics of the payer, provider, and supplier parts of the health care system. They will understand health policy at the federal and state levels and the impacts upon care delivery and market dynamics. They have the opportunity to select areas of interest within health care and take electives which have more advanced material within a given market segment such as health services, health insurance, health policy, life science-based enterprises, health care entrepreneurship.

The concentration prepares students for careers as managers in health care companies or health care service firms such as consulting, banking or health care IT companies, or in government agencies. Students planning careers in the health professions such as medicine, nursing, or dentistry have found the concentration very useful in understanding the context in which they will be working.

Are there other concentrations or upper-level courses in other departments that would pair well with this concentration?

Since this is an industry-specific concentration, students can add a functional specialty such as marketing, management, operations, finance or any combination of skills courses.