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The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care [Hardcover]

Clayton M. Christensen , Jerome H. Grossman M.D. , Jason Hwang M.D.
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 4, 2008 0071592083 978-0071592086 1

A groundbreaking prescription for health care reform--from a legendary leader in innovation . . .

Our health care system is in critical condition. Each year, fewer Americans can afford it, fewer businesses can provide it, and fewer government programs can promise it for future generations.

We need a cure, and we need it now.

Harvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen—whose bestselling The Innovator’s Dilemma revolutionized the business world—presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

Christensen applies the principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system with two pioneers in the field—Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang. Together, they examine a range of symptoms and offer proven solutions.


  • “Precision medicine” reduces costs and makes good on the promise of personalized care
  • Disruptive business models improve quality, accessibility, and affordability by changing the way hospitals and doctors work
  • Patient networks enable better treatment of chronic diseases
  • Employers can change the roles they play in health care to compete effectively in the era of globalization
  • Insurance and regulatory reforms stimulate disruption in health care

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The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care + 60 Minute Strategic Plan + Promoting Legal and Ethical Awareness: A Primer for Health Professionals and Patients, 1e
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


"Clayton Christensen has done it again, writing yet another book full of valuable insights. The Innovator's Prescription might just mark the beginning of a new era in health care."
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City

"Clear, entertaining, and provocative, The Innovator's Prescription should be read by anyone who cares about improving the health and health care of all."
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

"Comprehensive in its vision, astute in its diagnosis, and clear in its guidance, The Innovator's Prescription offers strong medicine for a health care system that is far from well."
Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, President, Institute of Medicine

"A wealth of insights--with new ideas and revelations in every chapter. Read it, and you will be armed with solid ideas for making health care better."
George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals

"The Innovator’s Prescription is a well researched, clearly organized road map to a sustainable health care system."
Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services

"The Innovator's Prescription is an important and timely contribution to the national debate on health system reform. We would do well to consider it carefully."
Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

"Clayton Christensen has helped many businesses—including our own--find new growth opportunities through deeper insights into the future of health and the health care system. I can think of no one better equipped to lead this comprehensive global assessment."
Bill Weldon, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson

Clayton M. Christensen's bestselling books are:


"ABSORBING."The New York Times


"BRILLIANT."Michael R. Bloomberg

"VISIONARY."Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Christensen is also co-founder of Innosight, a management consultancy; Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm; and Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank. He is the author or coauthor of five books including the New York Times bestsellers The Innovator's Dilemma, The Innovator's Solution and most recently, Disrupting Class. He also serves as a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The late Jerome H. Grossman, M.D., was the Director of the Harvard/Kennedy School Health Care Delivery Policy Program. A nationally recognized health care policy expert and a pioneer in health informatics, his leadership spanned business and health care. He served as CEO of a major medical center, chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and co-founded four successful companies.

Jason Hwang, M.D., is an internal medicine physician and senior strategist for the Healthcare Practice at Innosight LLC, an innovation and strategy consulting firm. He also co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of Healthcare at Innosight Institute, a non-profit social innovation think tank. Previously, Dr. Hwang was a chief resident and clinical instructor at the University of California, Irvine. He received his M.D. from the University of Michigan and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (December 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071592083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071592086
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What rather than who February 18, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is a commonplace that the U.S. healthcare system is broken, but the discussion often degenerates into a debate about who is responsible. This book takes a different approach, focusing on what is wrong with the healthcare system and needs to change so it can work better.

The proposed solution is to discard the current fee for healthcare service model, in which healthcare providers are systematically paid to treat illness without recompense for fostering welfare, and create a three-track system:

(1) Fee for service would continue to apply to diagnostic services, where - due to the nature of the patient's condition and the state of medical knowledge - there is a high need for intuitive investigation versus results-based treatment for conditions that are well understood. (The process described brings to mind episodes of House, a TV show in which a brilliant but irascible doctor challenges a team of colleagues to find the problem before the patient dies.)

(2) Fee for result would apply for treating conditions that are well understood and have a clearly defined solution -- colonoscopies, laser eye surgery, implantation of stents, etc.

(3) User networks for patients with chronic conditions/ unhealthy practices to learn how they can help themselves and be motivated to do so.

As is pointed out again and again, disruptive changes will be needed to get from A to B. Thus, hospitals must be redirected to focus on diagnostic services and cede provision of standardized care and wellness coordination to specialized clinics and other agencies. Primary care physicians (the traditional "family doctor") should concentrate on diagnostic services at a lower level rather than acting as "gatekeepers" for referrals to specialists.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The decade worth of research spent understanding, studying, and ultimately offering solutions to make the health care system more accessible, higher quality, and affordable is clear. Unlike other books, the authors avoid the traps the plague most other solutions by taking a completely different perspective by looking at other industries where products and services offered were "so complicated and expensive that only people with a lot of money can afford them, and only people with a lot of expertise can provide or use them." Yet convincingly through plenty of examples, it shows how telephones, computers, and airline travel moved from only accessible to those with the resources to become available and affordable to all.

The book tackles every aspect of health care and asks how will those in health care be disrupted and subsequently surpassed by other providers which deliver care that is more convenient, higher quality, and lower cost.

What will hospitals need to do as increasingly more surgical procedures are performed in high volume specialty hospitals?

How will doctor practices sustain themselves as new diagnostic tools and research makes the identification and treatment of problems more precise that nurse practitioners with clear protocols can deliver care previously required by physicians?

What mechanisms exist to streamline and integrate the various players of health care (doctors, hospitals, purchasers, insurers) so that all are focused on the benefit of wellness and outcomes of patient care rather than maximizing each of their own financials? (Hint: large employers will integrate health care and others will only purchase care delivered by integrated healthcare delivery systems).
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60 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been an active participant in healthcare developing and commercializing over twenty medical technologies across nine medical specialties since the 1970's. I have also lectured on the medical industry as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Creighton University Medical Center and as a guest lecturer at Anderson School of Management (UCLA), Haas School of Business (University of California), and Graziadio Business School (Pepperdine University), and spent significant time in the 1990's on FDA reform.

I have been privileged to have had a front-row seat observing the major changes that have shaped today's healthcare system - industry consolidation for both the supplier (pharma, med-tech, and diagnostic) and delivery (hospital, clinics, physician practice) segments; the move from unregulated fee-for-service to regulated fee-for-service; the growth of medical malpractice and its impact on the cost of healthcare; the use and misuse of technology; the draconian regulatory burden (FDA and CMS) associated with developing new life-improving or life-saving technologies; and, as a result, the growth of healthcare as a share of GDP from 6% to 16%. To this industry insider, healthcare is a system in critical condition and needs radical surgery.

Clayton Christensen who authored one of the best books on innovation ("The Innovator's Dilemma") has now teamed up with Jerome Grossman, M.D. and Jason Hwang, M.D. to bring well-researched insights into a disruptive solution for effective value-added health care in "The Innovator's Prescription." Christensen and company outline the technological enablers of disruption then show us how various aspects of the healthcare system can be effectively disrupted to produce better, more cost-effective healthcare for all Americans.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 17 hours ago by J. Ellis
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard slog
This was a hard one to read. A bloody hard slog. If I see the word 'disruption' one more time I'm going to throw up. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Jigokumon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent book BUT it is 5 years old
Published 5 days ago by Gary D. Vanderark
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Useful
Our disruptive business has had much initial struggle due to the competing forces outlined in this book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joe@iBeamforLife
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful
Mr. Christensen took his approach to disruptive innovation and applied it to health care particularly in this time of ACA. Well worth the read.
Published 2 months ago by Vic Galfano
1.0 out of 5 stars theoretical biased rubbish
Bought this book based on favorable reviews. What a load of rubbish! Completely theoretical and highly biased to authors' worldview. Read more
Published 2 months ago by approved!
4.0 out of 5 stars thoughtful and useful book
This book applies Christensen's theories of disruptive innovation to healthcare. The book has many thoughtful points about how medicine could and should change. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Linda Geis
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris
Great book - dense but very valuable and worth reading. Many of their predictions have already come true. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chris B. Saxon
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding analysis of the healthcare industry
Outstanding read that clearly analyzes both the issues and solutions. Highly recommend to all with a serious interest in reform of the current healthcare industry. Read more
Published 6 months ago by James E. Showalter
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant healthcare prescription that never made it into the...
This is not a totally adequate summary of a comprehensive and important book, “The Innovator’s Prescription”. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chris
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