Action Learning


Our Healthcare Lab student teams work on complex problems with organizations in healthcare-related areas, including operations management, analytics, IT and delivery innovation.

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15.777 Healthcare Lab: Introduction to Healthcare Delivery in the United States

Our Healthcare Lab students work with host companies in order to find actionable solutions to real challenges in the healthcare field; making improvements in analytics, operations management, IT, marketing, and many other areas, with one ultimate goal: to improve the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes. 

H-Lab provides a unique learning opportunity for students; allowing them hands on experience that will prepare them for the very real challenges that face healthcare organizations. And through their experiences, healthcare businesses, employees, and patients ultimately benefit. 

Dive Deeper

Learn more about the MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative.

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WATCH: MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative Director Anne Quaadgras on Healthcare Lab



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Improving Healthcare Services 

H-Lab students work with healthcare organizations in many locations throughout the East Coast. By expanding medical technologies into new markets, improving patient and provider communications, and helping organizations follow best practices with medications, our students are making a difference in the healthcare industry. 

WATCH: Healthcare Lab Action Learning at MGH

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston serves as a host to a team of 4 MIT Sloan graduate students working to improve the efficiency of the pathology department's processes.

H-Lab Companies


Info for Students

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Healthcare Lab: MIT Students Change Health Organizations and Systems

H-Lab students are making a difference in the world of healthcare.

The Class

 Students in the healthcare field not only learn about the challenges they face in the industry; they can make a direct impact through their learning. H – Lab allows students to make a meaningful difference in the healthcare world through innovative research and educational activities.

This interdisciplinary, project based course is designed to

  • Provide insight to the issues facing healthcare organizations
  • Immerse students in an intensive experience working collaboratively with senior leadership in healthcare organizations
  • Create a forum where students and healthcare leaders can work together to take action

In The Field

A large part of this course involves students working with host companies. Once the H-Lab teaching team assigns students to a host, these groups of four will work with their host organizations on a four-month project designed to tackle a real-world business problem. From September to December, the teams work with their hosts online and via conference calls to determine the project scope, schedule, and deliverables. Throughout the semester, teams conduct extensive research, interviews, and analyses that will help them find potential solutions to their host’s business challenges. In January, the student teams spend at least one full week with their host company to collaborate and implement their findings. Once the semester is over, students present their projects in the Action Learning Poster Session. 

Reflections and Deliverables 

Though one of the main focuses of H-Lab is creating a deliverable for host organizations, reflection is a crucial aspect of action learning. Through mentor coaching sessions, updates, and the creation of posters for public presentation, students link theory and practice in order to deepen their learning experience.   

Fall Timeline

  • September - December

    Course meets in the classroom.

  • September

     Student teams are formed.

     Teams are matched to host organizations and projects.

  • September - October

    Teams contact host organizations and develop project work plans.

    Teams work on projects on campus and potentially onsite with host organizations. 

  • October-December

    Student teams have frequent check-ins with host organizations. 

  • December

    Fall classes end, and holiday break begins.

  • January

    Teams work onsite for one week.

  • February

    Poster session.


Info for Hosts

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The Benefits of Becoming a Host Organization

America's healthcare system is notoriously complex. Our students work with many different types of organizations, including clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare centers, and have a wide of array of experiences that have prepared them to solve some of healthcare's biggest challenges. 

Students and organizations work together to tackle problems in a variety of healthcare areas, including:

  • Analytics
  • Delivery innovation
  • IT
  • Operations management
  • Organizational dynamics
  • Strategic marketing 


Interested in Becoming a Host? 

Please contact the Healthcare Lab faculty in order to learn more about becoming a host. Our teams of students can help improve the health of both patients and organizations. 

Please note that although there is no fee for becoming a host, organizations are responsible for travel expenses if teams are required to leave the MIT area for their onsite experience. This would include:

  • Team members’ round-trip coach airfare
  • Reasonable lodging for students while onsite

Host Timeline

  • July

    Host application period begins. Invitations are sent out. 

  • Mid-August

    Project application deadline. Please contact H-Lab faculty for more details. 

  • September

    During the first and second weeks of the semester, students are matched with accepted projects. 

    Toward the end of September, begin conversations with student teams about project design and proposal or workplan. 

  • October - December

    Student teams actively engage host, usually via phone or Skype, to follow workplan. 

  • January

    Teams spend a week at the host organization, advancing the project and making presentations to senior leaders. 

Students and host wearing surgical outfits looking at surgical tools.

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About Action Learning

Bringing Theory to Life.

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MIT Sloan’s Action Learning labs take the idea of learning-by-doing to a whole new level. Come explore.

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Bringing student teams together.

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