Clayton M. Christensen is a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. He is the bestselling author of five books, including his seminal work, The Innovator's Dilemma, which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, and most recently, The Innovator's Prescription, which examines how to fix our healthcare system. Christensen serves on several public and privately traded boards and is the founder of a successful consulting company and an investment management firm. He holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics and the economics of less-developed countries from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar; he received an MBA with high distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1979, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar, and was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992.
Christensen: You know, the government now is all worried about how to afford healthcare, assuming that the cost will continue to increase as they have. And so, how to help the uninsured and the poor afford it is a big issue there, but the big question is how do you make it affordable? And if you make it affordable, then providing healthcare for those who are poor and uninsured becomes a much easier problem to solve. Now, for example, a couple of our former students set up retail clinics called the MinuteClinic, beginning in Minnesota and now it’s rolling out around the country. And in a MinuteClinic, you can go and in 15 minutes you’re in or out or it’s free. And they treat about 18 disorders that are rules based, that is, there’s a go, no go, unambiguous diagnostic coupled with a rules based therapy. And the MinuteClinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who can do a perfectly good job of diagnosis and treatment, and the price of the services done in a MinuteClinic are 1/3 the price of the service done in a doctor’s office, and of course the doctors just protest the establishment of these clinics, and they say for the good of the patient you need to leave it in the care of a doctor, but it’s actually for the good of the doctor that they are protesting that. And if the government will clear the way for the creation of these disruptive business models, that’s the way you provide healthcare to the poor and the uninsured.