Action Learning


Our H-Lab student teams work on complex problems with host organizations in critical areas, including operations management, analytics, IT and delivery innovation.

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Where Healthcare Meets Business

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. 


Professor Anne Quaadgras on Healthcare Lab

Healthcare Lab: MIT Students Change Health Organizations and Systems

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

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. 

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 continue project work on campus.

  • Late October

    Project work plans are submitted.

  • December

    Fall classes end, and holiday break begins.

  • January

    Teams work onsite for at least one week.

  • February

    Poster session.


Info for Hosts

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 Interested in becoming an H-Lab host? Please contact the Healthcare Lab faculty. 

To learn more about H-Lab, visit the action learning page on the Health Systems Innovation Initiative website.

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
Laptop, clipboard and stethoscope

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