Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Managing the Myths of Health Care

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Managing the Myths of Health Care

Bridging the Separations Between Care, Cure, Control, and Community


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Only greater collaboration, cooperation and community can save health care.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • Overview


Management guru Henry Mintzberg brings his contrarian, astute advice to health care. After an indictment of dysfunctional “health care systems” worldwide – particularly in the United States and Canada – he prescribes greater collaboration, less competition and more emphasis on cause over cure. From the folly of “managerial fads” to simplistic government fixes, Mintzberg argues that health care suffers from weak leadership and trendy strategy. To his way of thinking, only on-the-ground management can fix it. While health care must include specialists, he says, it should overcome the divisions among physicians, administrators and providers. Such silos reinforce entrenched hierarchies and undermine patient care. While always politically neutral, getAbstract thinks health care professionals, administrators, policy makers, politicians, patients and investors will find food for thought in Mintzberg’s analysis.


Health Care Is Not a Business

Worldwide, health care has made tremendous strides. People now live longer than ever in human history. Yet patients and their families want, expect and demand more, but they “don’t want to pay for it.” This makes cost cutting paramount, and health care systems suffer.

Leaders in government and health care administration – who seldom understand the daily work of doctors, nurses and other practitioners – implement trendy fixes under the guise of running health care “like a business.” Health care can’t focus on cost cutting – nor can it put the burdens of “caveat emptor” and “comparison shopping” on sick, sometimes dying or incapacitated patients. Society can’t let pharmaceutical giants charge “what the market will bear” for products patients need to stay alive. Nor should administrators use carrots and sticks to motivate doctors and nurses, who put up with daily tragedy and stress largely because they see their work as a “calling.” Health care can benefit from some business practices, but it can’t operate as a business.

“Collaborative Autonomy”

Administrators, governments and pharmaceuticals share only part of the blame. Physicians...

About the Author

Henry Mintzberg teaches at McGill University’s School of Management. His 19 books include Rebalancing Society, Managing, Simply Managing and Strategy Safari.

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    A. 7 years ago
    There are interesting parallels to his view on what healthcare needs and to what I think large corporations need. And I'd be interested to see the agile method used to build ground up ways to approach healthcare. The Mayo Clinic sounds good but I bet there are even better ways waiting to be co-designed.
  • Avatar
    V. M. 7 years ago
    Specific book is the ground for reflection
  • Avatar
    G. U. 7 years ago
    self esteem

More on this topic

Learners who read this summary also read

Related Channels