We will show how information technologies (IT) shape and redefine the health care marketplace. Students will learn how IT enhances medical care through: 1) improved economies of scale, 2) greater technical efficiencies in the delivery of care, 3) advanced tools for patient education and self-care, 4) network-integrated decision support tools for clinicians, and 5) opportunities for e-health delivery over the internet. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to design an innovative solution to a current or future health care problem. Students' proposed solutions will draw upon understanding of tools and principles acquired and will be presented as an application design during the final days of the course.


This interdisciplinary course will teach students how to critique and analyze various management programs and technology systems currently available to health care professionals. Lectures and tutorials will offer didactic and experiential learning opportunities. The tutorials will serve as interactive discussion and training sessions to introduce the skills and software toolsets that will be used by the students to design an original health care delivery system application. Skills will include those used by professionals in health economics, disease management, decision support, clinical effectiveness, and automated clinical trials design.


To provide a unique learning environment that brings together students and faculty from diverse backgrounds including medicine, business, law, engineering, public health, education, and social policy to harness their creativity and experience for the purpose of enhancing health care delivery.

Teaching Methods

The students will form multidisciplinary groups to analyze, develop, and present a specific disease or clinical management program which will incorporate (but is not limited to) management techniques, services, and technologies as presented during lectures and tutorials. A packet of materials will be distributed at the first tutorial that includes readings, written exercises, and instructions for the computer laboratories.


Class participation, project team exercises and written reflection paper 30%
Final oral presentation 25%
Final report 45%

Students may elect to take the course on a Pass-Fail basis with permission from the Registrar for their academic programs.

Reflection Papers (3)

Short reflection piece (1 - 2 pages maximum!) The purpose of the reflection piece is to help you organize your thoughts and clarify questions. It is not supposed to be a "paper" or point by point, article by article recounting of any set of readings. Instead, it should summarize:

  1. What struck you most about a particular reading or lecturer, what you agree and disagree with, and why
  2. How the readings or lecturers have impacted your thoughts on a particular area of interest in health care and technology.

Reflection papers will be graded on a 3-tiered scale:

  • Plus ("+") - Good/Excellent (3 points)
  • Check ("") - Satisfactory (2 points)
  • Minus ("-") - Needs Improvement (1 point)

Incomplete - Failed to turn in paper (0 points)

Papers turned in late will be marked down one level. The first late paper will be waived in lieu of explanations for lateness.

Oral Presentation

The oral presentation and the written final report will be reviewed by the course director, co-directors, tutors/supervisors, and lecturers. These group-based assessments will be combined with an individual assessment to determine the final grade.


Offered annually in the Spring Term. Weekly lectures (1 ½ hour) and tutorial sessions (1 ½-2 hours). Faculty and project supervisors are available during the course for work group meetings by mutual arrangement. Credits: HST921 (HMS), 922 (MIT) are 2 credits each; HST923 (HMS), 924 (MIT) are 2 credits each. Students who take both courses (required except by special exemption) earn 4 credits total. (Credit may vary by school.)


None. This interdisciplinary course is for students interested in strategic development of health-related businesses, outcomes research, and point of care patient services. Students may register from MIT, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Public Health, The Kennedy School of Government, The Graduate Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Harvard Law School, and the Graduate School of Education. In addition, undergraduates at MIT and Harvard College are eligible to register with permission.


Welcome and course introduction

History of cybermedicine



2 Telehealth: The future of healthcare


Project preferences (1st and 2nd choice) due five days after Lec #2
3 Building the health informatics chunnel: The PHR meets the EHR


4 The future of electronic health records Halamka
5 Creating high impact social ventures for global health


6 Convergence informatics: The future of clinical innovation


Stakeholder analysis due
7 Biomimetics, robotics, and embedded systems in healthcare


8 The future of enterprise computing in healthcare


Project track review due
9 Developing your business plan


Event diagram and porter analysis due
10 The future of disease management


11 Interactive multimedia in healthcare


12 Entrepreneurs panel


13-14 Final presentations