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)

System design & population health HCT 390
Transformation requires improving population health as well as health services and health care delivery. Success requires addressing disparities and socioeconomic status that affect health. This course explores the role of health systems in improving the health of communities and populations as a whole, recognizing that the health of a group improves only when health improves for the many individuals within it. Course content also will examine international health care models from developed and developing countries.

Strategy for health care innovation HCT 391
Strategic thinking is a critical skill for leaders. Students will learn how to apply concepts of tradeoffs, fit, consistency, culture, and cause to achieve effective strategy. This course will address system improvement, integration and rationalization, as well as growth across multiple facilities, locations, and patient segments.

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.