Course Description

Professional Development > Course Descriptions > Health Care Operations

The word “operations” derives from the Latin “opus,” and opus means work. So by definition, operations is about work. This course offers an introduction to operations management: after completing the course, you will be able to use a systematic approach for analyzing and improving your work in health care settings. This will benefit patients, teams of care providers, and staff.

The course includes an examination of inefficiencies resulting from the three system inhibitors: waste, variability, and inflexibility. And it provides strategies for engaging in the ongoing process of reducing these negative impacts without sacrificing quality of care.

Video sample of Health Care Operations
LECTURE VIDEO SAMPLE: A segment on examining inventory and flow in a health care setting, from Health Care Operations

Next Available Course Dates: December 4, 2018–January 28, 2019; registration now open

Estimated Hours/Week: 8

Learning Objectives

Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to do the following:

  1. Identify sources of waste and barriers to efficiency in a medical setting.
  2. Explain key concepts in operations management, including:
    1. Lean
    2. Bottlenecks
    3. Capacity calculations
    4. Productivity metrics such as booking density, occupancy, and utilization.
  3. Quantify the financial benefits of operational improvements.
  4. Apply the tools of operations management in a medical setting, including:
    1. Process flow diagrams
    2. Value-add analysis
    3. Demand forecasting
    4. Efficient workplace design
    5. Regimes of error prevention

Target Audience

Clinicians, administrators, or IT professionals who have been in their workplace long enough to observe and reflect upon procedures, and are interested in process improvement. In this course, you will develop the tools to clarify and implement your ideas.

Meet the Faculty

Christian Terwiesch, PhD

Christian Terwiesch is the Andrew M. Heller Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Professor in Wharton’s Operations and Information and Decisions department, co-director of Penn’s Mack Institute of Innovation Management, and also holds a faculty appointment In Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. His research on Operations Management and on Innovation Management appears in many of the leading academic journals ranging from Management Science to The New England Journal of Medicine.

Prof. Terwiesch is the co-author of Matching Supply with Demand, a widely used textbook in Operations Management that is now in its third edition. Based on this book, Prof. Terwiesch launched one of the first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) in Business on Coursera. By now, 100,000s of students have participated in this course, most of them working professionals from around the world.

Having faced various medical challenges in his own life, Prof. Terwiesch became interested in applying the science of operations to health care. He has been involved in many improvement projects related to patient flow, new delivery models of care, and improving the patient experience. He also is the co-founder of the Panorama Patient Network, a novel platform for educating patients about various medical conditions.

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