203 Colonial Penn Center
3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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
PhD, University of Chicago, 1981; MBA, University of Chicago, 1984; MA, University of Chicago, 1976; BA, Haverford College, 1973
Analysis of the pharmaceutical outsourcing market, IMB, 2003-04; Antitrust implications of PHOs, Federal Trade Commission, 2004; Development of integrated delivery systems, Illinois Hospital Association, 1994-97
2003: Board of Institute of Medicine, Health Services Research Section; 2001: Arthur Anderson Distinguished Visitor, University of Cambridge (UK); 1999:Teacher of the Year, Administrative Medicine Program, School of Medicine, University of Wisconsin; 1992-93: Edwin Crosby Memorial Fellowship, Hospital Research and Educational Trust; 1990-91: Udall Fellowship, Udall Center for Public Policy; 1997: Invited Lecture Series, Catholic University of Rome, Luiss, and National Agency for Health Care Services (Rome)
Wharton: 1994-present (Chairperson, Health Care Systems Department, 2008-present; named James Joo-Jin Kim Professor, 1999; Director, Wharton Center for Health Management and Economics, 1999-present). Previous appointments: University of Arizona; University of Chicago. Visiting appointment: University of Wisconsin
Professional Leadership 2005-2009
Editorial Board, Health Services Research, 1994-present
Lawton Robert Burns, Ph.D., MBA, is the Chair of the Health Care Management Department, the James Joo-Jin Kim Professor, a Professor of Health Care Management, and a Professor of Management in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of the Wharton Center for Health Management & Economics, and Co-Director of the Roy & Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management. He received his doctorate in Sociology and his MBA in Health Administration from the University of Chicago. Dr. Burns taught previously in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago and the College of Business Administration at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Burns has analyzed physician-hospital integration over the past 25 years. In recognition of this research, Dr. Burns was named the Edwin L. Crosby Memorial Fellow by the Hospital Research and Educational Trust in 1992. Dr. Burns has also published several papers on hospital systems and physician group practices. The last 13 years he spent studying the healthcare supply chain. He completed a book on supply chain management in the healthcare industry, The Health Care Value Chain (Jossey-Bass, 2002), and a recent analysis of alliances between imaging equipment makers and hospital systems. These studies focus on the strategic alliances and partnerships developing between pharmaceutical firms/distributors, disposable manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, and organized delivery systems. He has also edited The Business of Healthcare Innovation (Cambridge University Press, 2012) which analyzes the healthcare technology sectors globally: pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and information technology. Most recently, he has served as lead editor of the 6th Edition of the major text, Healthcare Management: Organization Design & Behavior (Delmar, 2011). His latest book, India’s Healthcare Industry, was just published in 2014 (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Dr. Burns teaches courses on healthcare strategy, strategic change, strategic implementation, organization and management, managed care, and integrated delivery networks. From 1998-2002, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, where he taught corporate strategy to physicians. Dr. Burns also received an Investigator Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the reasons for failure in organizational change efforts by healthcare providers. He is a past member of the Grant Review Study Section for the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research, and a past board member of the Health Services Section of the Institute of Medicine. He is also a Life Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge.
Lawton R. Burns, Are Pharmacy Benefit Managers Unfairly Blamed for High Drug Prices?.
Lawton R. Burns, Stephen Shortell, Jennifer Hefner (Eds.), Responding to the Grand Challenges in Healthcare via Organizational Innovation – Needed Advances in Health Care Management 21 (2023)
Lawton R. Burns, Big Med’s Spread.
Lawton R. Burns Dark Territory: Lifting The Veil On GPOs And PBMs.
Lawton R. Burns, The Healthcare Value Chain: Demystifying the Roles of GPOs and PBMs (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)
Mark V. Pauly, Lawton R. Burns, David A. Asch, Kevin Volpp, Flaura Winston, Mary Naylor, Ralph Muller, Rachel Werner, Seemed Like a Good Idea: Alchemy versus Evidence-Based Approaches to Healthcare Management Innovation (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2022)
Lawton R. Burns, Stephen Shortell, Jennifer Hefner (Eds.), Responding to the Grand Challenges in Healthcare via Organizational Innovation – Advances in Health Care Management 21 (Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2022)
Lawton R. Burns, Howard Forman, Carolyn Watts (2022), Teaching the Introductory Course on the U.S. Healthcare System: Issues, Challenges, and Lessons, Journal of Health Administration Education, 39(1), pp. 35-60.
Abstract: Programs in healthcare administration often require their students to take an "introductory" course on healthcare. Such a class can serve many important purposes, such as building knowledge about an important sector of the economy, developing personal and professional competencies, training in a discipline, and preparing students for upper-level courses. While many introductory textbooks are available, much less information is available on how such classes are taught and what they cover. With the assistance of the AUPHA's director of membership, we contacted faculty members (and directors) of AUPHA programs in health administration who teach (offer) an "introductory" course. We requested their introductory course syllabuses and then performed a con tent analysis. This article summarizes the findings from the content analysis regarding the purposes of such a course and the range of subjects covered. We then consider the issues, challenges, and lessons instructors face. Our goal is to assist current and future instructors, particularly new faculty tasked with this assignment, and to promote a community among us all.
Lawton R. Burns, Ingrid Nembhard, Stephen Shortell (2022), Integrating Network Theory into the Study of Integrated Healthcare, Social Science & Medicine, 296, p. 114664.
Abstract: Healthcare policy in the United States (U.S.) has focused on promoting integrated healthcare to combat frag- mentation (e.g., 1993 Health Security Act, 2010 Affordable Care Act). Researchers have responded by studying coordination and developing typologies of integration. Yet, after three decades, research evidence for the benefits of coordination and integration are lacking. We argue that research efforts need to refocus in three ways: (1) use social networks to study relational coordination and integrated healthcare, (2) analyze integrated healthcare at three levels of analysis (micro, meso, macro), and (3) focus on clinical integration as the most proximate impact on patient outcomes. We use examples to illustrate the utility of such refocusing and present avenues for future research
Lawton R. Burns, The U.S. Healthcare Ecosystem: Payers, Providers, Producers (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2021)
This course presents an overview of the business of health and how a variety of health care organizations have gained, sustained, and lost competitive advantage amidst intense competition, widespread regulation, high interdependence, and massive technological, economic, social and political changes. Specifically, we evaluate the challenges facing health care organizations using competitive analysis, identify their past responses, and explore the current strategies they are using to manage these challenges (and emerging ones) more effectively. Students will develop generalized skills in competitive analysis and the ability to apply those skills in the specialized analysis of opportunities in producer (e.g. biopharmaceutical, medical product, information technology), purchaser (e.g. insurance), and provider (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, physician) organizations and industry sectors. The course is organized around a number of readings, cases, presentations, and a required project.
This course provides an introduction to the field of health care economics and management. Using an economic approach, the course will provide an overview of the evolution, structure and current issues in the health care ecosystem. It examines the unique features of health care services, products and markets, with a specific focus on the changing relationships between patients, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, communities, and government. In particular, the course focuses on three broad segments of the health care industry: payors, providers, and producers. 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.
This course, co-taught with Brad Fluegel (former Chief Strategy Officer at Aetna, Anthem, and Walgreens and presently on the boards of several health care firms, including Fitbit and Premera Blue Cross), provides an overview of the challenges facing payers and providers in US healthcare as well as the strategies they use (or should use) to succeed. We cover all major aspects of the healthcare sector as seen from the perspective of payers and providers, starting from their core products and services (consumer preferences and health plan design, provider quality), the market environment they operate in (regulation and the role of public insurers, payment reforms, rising costs, and consolidation), and their strategic and operational responses (new organization models, mergers and acquisitions, and new ventures). The pedagogy is accordingly a mix of faculty lectures and talks by senior industry leaders to balance theory and practice.
HCMG 8900-001: This course examines issues related to the Services Sector of the health care industry. For those interested in management, investing, or banking in the health care industry, the services sector will likely be the largest and most dynamic sector within all of health care. We will study key management issues 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 look at a number of different businesses and subsectors that may have been unfamiliar to students prior to taking the course. We will make extensive use of outside speakers, many of whom are true industry leaders within different sectors of the health care services industry. Speakers will address the current management issues they face in running their businesses as well as discuss the career decisions and leadership styles that enables them to reach the top of their profession. Students will be asked to develop a plan to both buy out and manage a specific health care services business of their choosing and will present their final plans to a panel of leading Health Care Private Equity investors who will evaluate their analysis. Prerequisites: HCMG 8410. Health Care Management MBA majors only
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.
Inside China’s Health Care Reform Effort
Wharton Professor’s Book Takes a Deep Dive in a Very Complicated Market
In their new book ‘Big Med,’ David Dranove and Wharton’s Lawton R. Burns look at the rise of megaproviders -- expansive health care organizations -- and their role in runaway costs.…Read MoreKnowledge at Wharton - 6/15/2021