McCombs and Dell continue collaboration to tackle healthcare delivery

Burhanuddin Calcuttawala

Dell Medical School and the McCombs School of Business are partnering to tackle issues within the healthcare system by applying business principles to the industry.

This collaboration involves new initiatives such as the Business of Healthcare certificate and the Texas Health Catalyst.

The Business of Healthcare certificate, currently in its first semester, is one of the first interdisciplinary efforts directed toward undergraduates with the aim of bringing healthcare-specific business acumen to interested students. 

Roanna Flowers, program developer for healthcare initiatives at McCombs, said the certificate program brings McCombs’ strengths, such as their MIS program, to the field of healthcare delivery.

“We’ve really focused on the healthcare delivery system,” Flowers said. “We can’t cure cancer, but maybe we can help the cure to cancer get to the markets where they need to be. We look at operations research, accounting, finance, those things that we do naturally well. In those areas where we already have strengths, what can we do to bring those strengths to healthcare?”

Finance junior Mike Dinh said he enrolled in the Business of Healthcare certificate because his interests align well with the curriculum.

“I’m going to go into the healthcare field and I’m a business major … so I thought it would go hand in hand,” Dinh said. “I hope to maybe focus on opening up a [mental health] clinic.” 

The Texas Health Catalyst is another initiative linking business and healthcare.

This initiative seeks to invest in research by UT faculty that has the potential to create tangible health products for patients.

Nishi Viswanathan, operational lead of the Texas Health Catalyst, said a new class for MBA students will allow them to work directly with Catalyst teams, creating interesting new collaborations between the two fields.

“Our inventors are usually on the science side so they are always looking for business experts to help them,” Viswanathan said. 

Viswanathan also said it is important for collaborations like this to exist because the business of healthcare is radically different from that of other industries.

“It’s really important for business students who are interested in healthcare to be able to participate in any activity related to healthcare entrepreneurship, because it is a different animal,” Viswanathan said. “For example, you have to deal with regulatory authorities. [You cannot succeed] unless you are well-versed with how to create a product that can easily take that path.”