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VINE VOICEon 27 July 2009
Having been exposed to Christensen's theory of disruption in his previous books (The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business (Harperbusiness Essentials) and The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth) and also from taking his course at business school, I bought this book to give me a refresher in the theory and to also see one of the world's most impressive minds apply his knowledge to one of the world's biggest problems; how to make healthcare affordable for ageing populations.

Overall, the book doesn't disappoint. In Christensen's logical, structured style the various points he makes are illustrated well with insightful case studies (both within healthcare and from other industries such as electronics that readers of the previous books will be familiar with) and a clear narrative flow. He carefully dissects the various issues and applying the various elements of disruption theory builds a framework for how to build a healthcare system that works on all levels.

I can't do it justice in a paragraph but his major argument is that having hospitals (which are structured to solve complex problems) as the main repository of care is very inefficient. Instead, various activities of hospitals such as routine dialysis or hip operations should be hived off into much more efficient external clinics that are more able to charge on a results-basis and drive down costs by using more skilled technicians rather than high cost doctors. However, there's much more in here as he gives extremely robust analysis of all elements of healthcare.

While his perspective and analysis is largely based on the US, he talks at a general level making his conclusions applicable to any country in the world.

If you've read previous Christensen books then it's a novel application of his theories (if a little repetitive). If you haven't read any of his previous work then he walks you through his argument (but not in the same detail as previous books) such that you can read this book on its own. However be warned, this is definitely towards the 'textbook' end of business books and it avoids a lot of the political debate that drags down other debates on healthcare (but which may potentially be more interesting). While still very readable it can become quite in depth and requires a lot of thought. Not really a book in the 'pop-business' mould but if you're interested in the subject a great read.

I really wish someone in the UK government would take a real good look at the conclusions.
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on 14 December 2009
I am a UK medical doctor and was passed this book by a family member. My initial reluctance to engage with the detail eventually gave way to the painful realisation that much of what is said here is true and applies to the UK as it does to the US. This book has changed my view of healthcare and specifically how badly we deliver it. Worth a read even if you are skeptical!
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on 20 January 2016
It's really hard to get your head around the changes required in a complex adaptive system like most health and social care economies. Whilst taking a lot of time to really get through this book (I had to keep going back reading earlier bits), it does provide a good framework to think about how changes could be made.
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on 24 March 2010
Political fights over health care reform have generated countless pages of editorials, commentaries and polemics, and hundreds of hours of television and radio programming. However, the onslaught has included depressingly few carefully considered, thoughtfully presented proposals for holistic reform of the health care system. This book by Clayton M. Christensen, Jerome H. Grossman and Jason Hwang is one of a very small number to transcend agitprop and offer an intelligent way forward. Its thesis is that in the natural course of economic progress many changes will happen inevitably in the health care industry. The book explains that health care is not fundamentally dissimilar to other industries where "disruptive innovation" has brought efficiency, economy and quality. Since the health care industry is likely to follow, for example, the path of the computer industry, getAbstract suggests this book as a must-read for health care professionals, policy makers and anyone with an interest in the future of the field. Perhaps these ideas - or even the thinking provoked by disagreeing with some of them - could help shape a robust solution to a vexing global problem, if that solution survives the legislative process (evoking the old saying that you should never watch laws or sausages being made - alas, it's too late for that).
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on 20 February 2015
My daughter loved it.
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on 4 June 2015
Just love it
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on 10 January 2010
This is a great book if a little heavy in places. Based o the problems in the American health services it has some eye opening views that could be translated for use in the UK
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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." -- Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

In The Innovator's Prescription, disruptive innovation expert Professor Clayton M. Christensen teams with Jerome H. Grossman, M.D., and Jason Hwang, M.D. to consider how new technologies, improved business models, changed processes, improved regulation, and better ways of training can greatly expand the amount of health care that can be provided for what is being spent now, opportunities to speed better treatments through development and testing, and patients can be encouraged to do more for themselves. The basic arguments are based on analogies to other major industries where disruptive innovation caused costs to drop as greatly simplification and specialization occurred.

I think that few will disagree that the opportunities described here are mostly real ones. I wasn't convinced that the foundations for change are sufficiently well established to make serious shifts in the United States. I believe that what is described here is very likely to occur rather in the rapidly developing part of the emerging market countries such as India (home of Aravind Eye Care System) where the lack of any health care for many creates a humanitarian incentive to lower regulatory barriers and to push aside old, outmoded habits.

Americans don't seem to be fundamentally unhappy with their system of very expensive health care that produces results in many categories that are inferior to what is achieved in other developed countries. It's a lot like the benefits the U.S. government dispenses when it runs trillion dollar deficits. Most people are getting a lot more back than what they put in. The free lunch will have to stop before the efficiencies will begin.

I was pleased to see that unlike earlier books by Professor Christensen this one attempts to integrate business model innovation into the discussion. The result was unfortunately pretty primitive, describing four categories of business models rather than the full richness of business model innovation. I'm increasingly persuaded that the so-called disruptive innovation school is really just the study of how specialists simplify, streamline, and organize markets that poorly organized generalists are trying to milk through charging as high prices as possible. That's only one category of disruptive innovation, but it is certainly a valid one that has been very important for over 100 years.

The book's other missed opportunity is to look well beyond what today's best practices suggest . . . toward what the ideal way to foster competition to do a great deal more for less and improved health (rather than health care) would look like.

Despite those missed opportunities, I don't know of a better book for proposing some helpful ways to at least allow Americans to get more health care for what is being spent. Nice work!
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