The June 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review contains an outstanding article on Redefining Competition in Health Care by Michael E. Porter, Ph.D. of the Harvard Business School and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg, Ph.D. of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Their carefully researched, well-argued, actionable recommendations include:

– Standardized information about individual diseases and treatments should be collected and disseminated widely so patients can make informed choices.

– Purchasers, providers, and health plans should establish transparent billing and pricing to reduce cost shifting, confusion, pricing discrimination, and a host of other inefficiencies.

– Providers should be experts in specific conditions and treatments rather than try to be all things to all patients.

Their bottom line is we can create positive-sum competition in health care using the same approaches that have successfully transformed other complex industries. Their work provides new, compelling support for those of us working to promote results-driven, market-based reforms, including transparency and consumer decision support.

In addition to their HBR article, Drs. Potter and Teisberg have created a comprehensive report providing precise recommendations. While a bit pricy (like many HRB Research Reports), the full report is essential reading for health care executives, business and government leaders, policy mavens, and grad students.

Start with the 13-page article. You may preview a section of the full 83-page report before you buy it.