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Lawton R. Burns is passionate about healthcare and has taught several courses on topics related to the field including healthcare strategy, organization and management.

He is currently a professor and the chair of University of Pennsylvania Wharton School's health care systems department, as well as the director of the Wharton Center for Health Management & Economics. In 1992, Burns was honored as an Edwin L. Crosby Memorial Fellow for his lengthy research on physician-organization integration.

Among his many works, Burns has written about supply chain management in the healthcare industry, trends of the different sectors of the global health care industry, and the structure of physician networks.

Full Profile

Health Care Management Department, Wharton Center for Health Management and Economics

Lawton R. Burns, Ph.D., MBA, is the Chair of the Health Care Sytems Department, and also the James Joo-Jin Kim Professor, as well as a Professor of Health Care Systems in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania . He is also Director of the Wharton Center for Health Management & Economics. Dr. Burns teaches courses on healthcare strategy, strategic change, organization and management, managed care, and integrated delivery systems.

From 1998-2002, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, where he taught corporate strategy to physicians. He received his doctorate in Sociology and his MBA in Health Administration from the University of Chicago . Dr. Burns taught previously in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago and the College of Business Administration at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Burns sits on the Governing Board of the Institute of Medicine (Health Services section) and on the editorial board of Health Services Research. He is a past member of the Grant Review Study Section for the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research. He is also a Life Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Burns has analyzed physician-organization integration over the past twenty years. In recognition of this research, Dr. Burns was named the Edwin L. Crosby Memorial Fellow by the Hospital Research and Educational Trust in 1992. Dr. Burns has also published several papers on the structure and performance of physician networks, the market forces that shape the growth of group practices and investor-owned networks, and the organizational options for physicians in a consolidating industry.

In addition to this research, Dr. Burns has conducted extensive analyses of the Allegheny Health Education & Research Foundation (AHERF) bankruptcy, and is now completing a book on the bankruptcy and the Philadelphia hospital market.

Most recently, he has completed a book on supply chain management in the healthcare industry: The Health Care Value Chain (Jossey-Bass, 2002). The study focuses on the strategic alliances and partnerships developing between pharmaceutical firms/distributors, disposable manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, and organized delivery systems. He has also completed a companion volume on The Business of Healthcare Innovation (Cambridge University Press, 2005), which examines the market structure and trends in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and information system sectors of the global health care industry.

Dr. Burns has also received an Investigator Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the reasons for failure in organizational change efforts by healthcare providers.

Dr. Burns teaches one- and two-day management seminars on behalf of the Wharton School and other organizations. These seminars are designed to prepare physicians and administrators for managing integrated delivery systems and strategic change.


Lawton R. Burns Speaker Videos Back to top

Lawton R. Burns Speech


Lawton R. Burns discusses the process of success for medical device companies with the first step being entry into the market. He says, "You have to have an idea that addresses unmet clinical need as perceived by the clinicians."

Explaining the vital role that clinicians play in the process, Burns says, "The clinician perspective here is everything because you can develop what you consider to be the best mouse trap or the better mouse trap but if the clinician doesn't think so or if the clinician doesn't think it's easier than what he or she is already using you're not going to go anywhere."

Addressing that the idea then has to be translated into practice, he tells the audience, "What starts out as a physician entrepreneur with an idea rapidly develops into a triadic relationship between the clinician, an engineer who can actually operationalize this, as well as a business person who can put together some of the business packaging on this, solicit financing...It becomes actually a love triangle in the good sense of the word in terms of getting new products off the ground."

Lawton R. Burns Speech 2



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


With healthcare being one of the most important discussions in our society, Lawton R. Burns offers numerous programs detailing the various factors of the industry. His expertise in the field makes him the ideal speaker to talk about the different topics mentioned below.

Most Requested Topics:

  • Health Care for the New Millennium
  • Health Care Management
  • Integrated Health Care
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Strategic Management




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    The Business of Healthcare Innovation
    by Lawton Robert Burns
    (Editor)

    Robert Lawton Burns focuses on the key role of the ′producers′ as the main source of innovation in this wide-ranging analysis of business trends in the manufacturing branch of the health care industry. Written by industry academics and executives, the book provides a detailed overview of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, genomics/proteomics, medical device and information technology sectors. Most importantly, it describes the growing convergence between these sectors and the need for executives in one sector to increasingly draw upon trends in the others.

    Order Here


    The Health Care Value Chain: Producers, Purchasers, and Providers / Edition 1
    Written by Lawton R. Burns and a panel of expert contributors, from the prestigious Wharton School, The Health Care Value Chain analyzes the key developments and future trends in the United States′ health care supply chain. Based on a groundbreaking research initiative underwritten by the industry/university consortium— the Center for Health Management Research— this important book offers an in-depth examination of how the health care supply chain helps create value and competitive advantage.

    The Health Care Value Chain offers a thorough examination of the trading relationships among the manufacturers of health care products, the distributors, the group purchasing organizations, and the hospital customers and end users of those products. And the authors show how health care professionals and manufacturers can work together to form beneficial strategic alliances. The Health Care Value Chain:

    • Shows how the health care value chain works
    • Uncovers the complexity of product procurement and delivery
    • Reveals the pathways and stumbling blocks to improved value chain operations
    • Describes the strategies of manufacturers in three product areas-pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and medical-surgical products
    • Explains the strategies of group purchasing organizations and wholesaler/distributors
    • Reveals the role of e-commerce in the health care value chain
    • Compares the health care value chain with the "extended enterprise" model found in the auto industry
    • Offers insights into the hospital customer of the future

    The Health Care Value Chain will give a greater understanding of how the health care supply chain works in order to enable health care executives to form strategic alliances, increase their market power, and gain competitive advantage.
    Order Here





Most Requested Topics:

  • Health Care for the New Millennium
  • Health Care Management
  • Integrated Health Care
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Strategic Management


Lawton R. Burns Speech


Lawton R. Burns discusses the process of success for medical device companies with the first step being entry into the market. He says, "You have to have an idea that addresses unmet clinical need as perceived by the clinicians."

Explaining the vital role that clinicians play in the process, Burns says, "The clinician perspective here is everything because you can develop what you consider to be the best mouse trap or the better mouse trap but if the clinician doesn't think so or if the clinician doesn't think it's easier than what he or she is already using you're not going to go anywhere."

Addressing that the idea then has to be translated into practice, he tells the audience, "What starts out as a physician entrepreneur with an idea rapidly develops into a triadic relationship between the clinician, an engineer who can actually operationalize this, as well as a business person who can put together some of the business packaging on this, solicit financing...It becomes actually a love triangle in the good sense of the word in terms of getting new products off the ground."

Lawton R. Burns Speech 2