Photo of Lawton R. Burns

Lawton R. Burns

James Joo-Jin Kim Professor of Health Care Management

Research Interests: formal organizations, health care management, hospital-physician relationships, integrated health care, physician networks, physician practice management firms, strategic change, supply chain management

Links: CV, Personal Website

  • HCMG841 - Health Services System

    This course provides an overview of the evolution, structure and current issues in the health care system. It examines the unique features of health care as a product, and the changing relationships between patients, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, communities, and government. The course examines three broad segments of the health care industry: payors, providers and suppliers. Within the payor segment, the course examines the sources and destinations of spending, managed care (HMOs, PPOs),employer based health insurance, technology assessment, payor strategy, and efforts to pay for the elderly, the poor & the medically indigent. Within the provider segment, the course examines the impact of cost containment and competition on hospitals and integrated delivery systems, long term care and disease management, and the important role of epedemiology in assessing population health needs and risks. Within the supplier segment, the course will examine developments in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical devices, genomics and IT industries. NOTE: This is a required course for Wharton Graduate Health Care Management majors; it counts as an elective course for all other Wharton Graduate students. It is also open to Law School and Nursing School students with a joint Wharton Program.

  • HCMG845 - Managed Care and the Industrial Organization of Health Care

    This course, co-taught with Brad Fluegel (former Executive VP of Wellpoint, Inc and current Chief Strategy Officer at Walgreens) will focus on two interrelated topics: managed care and market structure. The section on managed care will cover strategic planning and marketing of managed care services, operational issues in developing a managed care network, actuarial issues, and the management of physician behavior. The section on health care market structure will analyze strategies of vertical integration and horizontal integration (M+As), and their attempt to alter the balance of power in local healthcare markets. The section will also analyze the operational issues in managing cost and quality in an integrated system, integration along the supply chain, and the performance of these systems, and the bargaining and negotiation between hospitals, physicians, and health plans.

  • HCMG890 - Advanced Study Project Seminar

    There are three ASP Seminars: HCMG 890-001 Management of Health Care Service Businesses; HCMG 890-002 Medical Devices; HCMG 890-003 Health Business and Policy

    HCMG 890-001: This course examines issues related to managing or investing in Health Care Services Businesses. Defined as companies that manage, distribute or provide health care services, the Health Care Services sector touches almost every other portion of the health care system. We will study the key managementissues related to a number of different health care services businesses with a focus on common challenges related to reimbursement, regulatory, margin, growth, and competitive issues. We will make extensive use of outside speakers who will be current industry leaders within different sectors of the health care services industry and will address the current management issues they face in running their businesses. We will also hear from Private Equity professionals and people involved legislatively in Washington with health care services. Students will then be asked to develop a plan to both buyout and subsequently manage a specific health services businesses. Students will present their plans to a panel of leading Health Care Private Equity investors. The prerequisite for this course is HCMG 841.

    HCMG 890-002: Successful medical devices are an amalgamation of creative and innovative thinking, clinical expertise, and engineering know-how that endures intense regulatory and reimbursement scrutiny. This course will provide a foundation for understanding the nuances of the medical device industry. It will cover topics ranging from device design and discovery, regulatory issues, marketing, reimbursement, management, and strategy. Classroom activities will be supplemented with optional tours of hospitals, research and manufacturing facilities, and hands-on demonstrations of devices. Though the course is intended primarily for MBA students, it will be open to medical and engineering students as well as to hospital house staff.

    HCMG 890-003: This course will discuss how healthcare businesses(life sciences, health plans, and providers) and businesses providing health benefits are affected by government policies. Such actions include changes in the government's role as a payer, rules about insurance coverage for workers and dependents, and regulations dealing with workplace health and product safety. They also include regulations, subsidies, taxes, and public payments for health care goods and services supplied by organizations including for profit corporations, professional firms, and nonprofit entities. Finally they include organizations created by businesses and others to affect (lobby) government actions concerning health, health care, or health spending. Rather than ask the usual policy question about what business behaviors and reactions mean to the government's health policy, the course will ask what government health policy means to business. Methods of health policy analysis (which explores the equity and efficiency consequences of alternative policies) will be used, along with positive (descriptive) models of political economy (median voter, interest groups) and the public budget. Evaluation will involve written policy analyses, mock testimony, and policy critiques.


    Arranged with members of the Faculty of the Health Care Systems Department. For further information contact the Department office, Room 204, Colonial Penn Center, 3641 Locust Walk, 898-6861.

  • MGMT782 - Strategic Implementation

    This course is directed toward the attainment of five interdependent objectives 1) to develop an understanding of strategy implementation in complex organizations; 2) to understand how organizational planning, design, control and human resource decisions are interdependent and critical to successful implementation; 3) to develop a sensitivity to the "realities" of strategy implementation in "real world" organizations; 4) to obtain a deeper understanding of your personal management style and how it may help or hinder strategy implementation; and 5) to become a better communicator and implementer of strategy. To meet these course objectives, the emphasis will be on learning powerful ideas about how to be systematic in strategy implementation efforts, making use of research about case problems, class discussions, in class exercises, and student presentations. Much of the learning will take place in group discussions outside the classroom in preparation for the time we meet in the classroom.