Elms College Adds New MBA Track in Healthcare Innovation

CHICOPEE — A new master of business administration track at Elms College aims to help shape the future of healthcare.

Healthcare — a field that will experience 19% job growth between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — is in ever-increasing need of innovation. Today’s healthcare organizations are tasked with lowering costs, improving quality, expanding access, and increasing efficiency.

“Innovation is the key to meeting these challenges, and MBA-prepared administrators are the leaders who will guide the healthcare system into the future,” said Kim Kenney-Rockwal, director of the MBA program at Elms College.

Students in this MBA track will learn to evaluate feasibility of ideas, formulate innovative healthcare proposals, and make recommendations to effectively facilitate adoption of new practices and technologies. They will gain leadership skills to lead the transformation from traditional organizational cultures into a culture of innovation. They will emerge from this program ready to identify misalignments in healthcare systems — and to develop business models that respond to those misalignments.

But they will do more than study innovation from a theoretical perspective. All students in the healthcare innovation track will also participate in the Lean LaunchPad, a methodology that offers hands-on, real-world experience in a startup venture.

In the healthcare and life-sciences fields, Lean LaunchPad teaches innovators, entrepreneurs, clinicians, and scientists how to assess whether their idea or technology can serve as the basis for business. The focus of the course is on the marketplace, where an idea must be validated to move into the commercial world. Teams of students will gather data essential to customer purchases before doing the science; define clinical utility now, before spending millions of dollars; identify financing vehicles before they’re needed; and assess regulatory risk before they design and build.

“The healthcare business model is going to change. When you think about innovation and change, it could mean quality improvement, new technologies, or other methods of healthcare delivery,” said Amanda Garcia, adjunct faculty in the MBA program at Elms. “There is great opportunity for people who can manage change and bring in innovative projects or new devices or new business models.”

This program will begin in this fall. Foundation courses for students entering with a non-business background will begin in June.

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