University of Texas at Austin
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McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business


The program's interdisciplinary curriculum combines the best thinking and approaches in analytics, design, business, leadership, and other areas to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experiences they need to create and lead value-based health care transformation.

The curriculum is divided into three semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Each cohort begins courses in mid-August and completes the degree the following August of each year.

Fall Semester

August–December (10 Credit Hours)

Aspiration, innovation, & inertia in health care HCT 280
What is value in health care? How do we improve patient outcomes at the lowest cost? What leads to health disparities and unequal access to care? This foundational course reviews the historical trajectory that led to the current health care landscape and explores the transformation of culture, structure, and measurement to restore health care to its purpose—better health.

Creating value for individuals & patients HCT 281
Health care value is created when an individual’s health outcomes improve. Creating value requires understanding patients’ experience of their health and health care and creating solutions to their health challenges. This course introduces methodology to identify relevant patient segments, to assess patient unmet needs, and to identify the outcomes that matter most to patients. Students will be introduced to the “capability, comfort, and calm” meta-framework for designing and measuring patients’ health outcomes.

Measuring outcomes that matter HCT 387
Value in health care requires knowledge of patient outcomes, but most health systems focus on interim process measures. This course teaches measurement strategy -- identifying the critical outcomes, finding and creating validated measures, creating an analysis plan, and designing systems for collecting and evaluating health outcomes data, and accelerating learning by clinical teams.

Experiential Learning Project 1: Project planning & preparation HCT 397
Students work as a team (4-5 members) to design an action learning project aimed at improving some aspect of health and/or health care. Project planning will include background research, identifying an organizational setting and client, creating a business proposition and project “pitch,” and creating measurement and analysis plans. Students will practice project management and presentation skills.

Spring Semester

January–May (12 Credit Hours)

Redefining health delivery solutions HCT 382
Value is created by improving patients’ health outcomes. Restructuring care around how patients experience their conditions accelerates value creation. This course focuses on addressing gaps in current health care and organizing new care models through 1) process improvement of existing systems, 2) redefining health care delivery into integrated practice units, and 3) designing new services. This course provides training in human-centered design principles, frameworks for redefinition of organization and structure, and operational process improvement methods.

Health care finance & payment  HCT 382
Successful health care organizations must be financially sustainable. This course reviews foundational concepts of cost and managerial accounting, and uses these tools to assess the effect of payment system design on clinical care and organizational performance. Students will develop a toolkit to guide financially sound decision-making and waste reduction.

Leadership & Communication for Managing Change HCT 386
Effective leadership requires strong communication and team building skills, exercised with a clear understanding of one’s own leadership style. Students will assess their strengths and weaknesses as leaders and develop skills for leading transformation, giving and receiving feedback, managing ambiguity, resolving conflict, and building teams. Students will learn and practice strategies for effective communication and negotiation.

Experiential Learning Project 2: Project measurement & implementation HCT 398
Students will implement their project, conduct outcome measurement, analyze the organizational setting and team, and gather data for analysis. Students will be expected to refine their goals, outcomes, and analysis plans to adapt to meet the needs of their project.

Summer Semester

May–August (8 Credit Hours)

Systems and Technology Strategy HCT 390
This course looks at the role of information technology (IT) to support a successful strategy for creating value for individuals and families. Students will learn to articulate what their team or organization needs from IT systems, how technology can support strategy, and how to create a platform business that addresses a health problem.

Strategy for Transformation HCT 391
Strategic thinking is a critical skill for leaders. Students will learn how strategic thinking differs from strategic planning and explore how to apply concepts of uniqueness, tradeoffs, fit, and cause to articulate and achieve effective strategy. Using a variety of case examples, this course addresses improving value delivered by multi-facility or multi-location organizations as well as scaling high-value initiatives for high-volume implementation. Success at scale is critical to achieve high-value health care for all.

Experiential Learning Project 3: Project evaluation & dissemination HCT 299
For this culminating class, students will conduct their analysis, present their results to classmates, faculty, and organizational sponsors, and submit a final project paper.