Renowned economist to discuss the ongoing evolution of value-based health care

Michael E. Porter, PhD
Michael E. Porter, PhD

Michael E. Porter, PhD, who is widely recognized as the father of modern business strategy, will deliver Wednesday’s John J. Conley Ethics and Philosophy Lecture, Value-Based Health Care Delivery: The Strategic Agenda.

Dr. Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, is a leading authority on company strategy, national and regional competitiveness, and strategic approaches to societal problems. According to Fortune magazine, he is “the most famous and influential business professor who has ever lived.”

Throughout his career at Harvard Business School, Dr. Porter has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies, and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment, and health care. His approach is based on understanding the overall economics and structure of complex systems. His research has received numerous awards, and he is the most cited economic and business scholar today.

Since the early 2000s, Dr. Porter has devoted considerable attention to the economics of health care, with a focus on building the intellectual framework for realigning the delivery of health care to maximize value to patients (patient health care outcomes achieved per dollar spent). Beginning with the 2006 book Redefining Health Care (with Elizabeth Teisberg, PhD, professor, Dell Medical School, University of Texas, Austin) and in a series of articles thereafter, Dr. Porter pioneered the core concepts and framework of what is collectively known as value-based health care (VBHC).

VBHC involves an integrated agenda that includes making value for patients the central organizational goal around patient conditions, measuring outcomes and care-cycle costs by medical condition, shifting to value-based reimbursement models, integrating multi-location health systems, and putting information technology systems in place that enable value. VBHC citations have increased rapidly in the medical literature and the concepts are now practiced in many countries.

In a 2017 article on, Dr. Porter and co-author Robert S. Kaplan, PhD, Senior Fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus, Harvard Business School, wrote: “The state of VBHC in 2017 is strong and getting much stronger. We can reasonably expect to see more and more health care systems around the world restructuring around the VBHC framework. It has provided a clear roadmap for restructuring health care delivery around patients’ medical conditions. The only remaining question now is how quickly institutions and countries can implement it.”

In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Porter has founded or co-founded four not-for-profit organizations: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, which works on driving economic development in distressed urban communities; the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which creates rigorous tools for measuring foundation effectiveness; FSG, a leading not-for-profit strategy firm that conducts pioneering research and advises corporations, nongovernment organizations, and foundations on improving social value creation; and the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement, which develops and publishes global standard sets of patient outcomes by medical condition and drives their adoption and benchmarking globally.

Dr. Porter is the author of 19 books and more than 130 articles. He has won many scholarly awards and honors, including 24 honorary doctorates and several national and state honors. He received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce for his contributions to economic development. Dr. Porter has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is an honorary member of many other societies. In 2000, he was named a University Professor by Harvard University, the highest recognition that can be awarded to a Harvard faculty member.

The John J. Conley Ethics and Philosophy Lecture is sponsored by the Committee on Ethics and has been generously supported since 1991 by John J. Conley, MD, FACS, New York, NY, to explore ethical issues in surgery. Dr. Conley died in 1999, but his legacy continues and his memory is honored at this annual lecture.