Northeastern University
An Overview of the U.S. Healthcare System
Northeastern University

An Overview of the U.S. Healthcare System

Taught in English


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Gary Young

Instructor: Gary Young

Beginner level

Recommended experience

18 hours to complete
3 weeks at 6 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Explain how the delivery of healthcare in the U.S. is organized and financed

  • Describe the major health care professions and current employment trends

  •  Understand the connection between the historical foundation of American health care and its current state

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There are 4 modules in this course

In this module, we explore the staggering amount of money that the U.S. spends on healthcare, currently over 4 trillion dollars annually, and how it has grown over the past 50 years. We will delve into where the money goes within the healthcare organization, and discuss the increasing importance of prescription medications in healthcare spending and debate the advantages and disadvantages of having a mixed structure of public and private funding. Over the last 50 years, healthcare spending in the U.S. has increased rapidly to almost $13,000 per person annually, with several factors driving this rise including demographics, advances in medical technology, and price inflation. Provider consolidation has been identified as a major source of concern contributing to higher prices, and there is much variation in prices across and within geographic regions of the country. We will explore the financing and spending in healthcare in greater detail throughout this module.

What's included

8 videos12 readings6 quizzes2 discussion prompts

The healthcare provider landscape in the U.S. is vast and diverse, consisting of various institutions and professionals. Hospitals are a cornerstone of the healthcare system and employ a large portion of healthcare workers, but other institutions such as nursing homes and home health agencies are also crucial. In recent years, new types of institutional providers such as urgent care centers and retail clinics have entered the landscape promising to offer accessible and convenient care. In this module, we will explore the role of healthcare professionals in patient care and the growing diversity in the healthcare workforce.

What's included

3 videos4 readings4 quizzes1 peer review

The consolidation of hospitals in the U.S. healthcare system has been a steady trend for at least the last 30 years. This development has generated considerable debate as to its impact on healthcare delivery, particularly in terms of cost, accessibility, and quality of healthcare services. More recently, hospitals and physicians have been integrating, which constitutes another important development in the U.S. healthcare industry. We will also discuss the innovative delivery models that are used to enhance clinical care coordination among providers and examine trends in how healthcare providers and services are organized.

What's included

3 videos6 readings4 quizzes1 discussion prompt

The entry of retail companies into healthcare is a clear sign of a deficit in the U.S. healthcare system - the oversight of the patient or the consumer. Consumers face many challenges, such as long waiting times, limited office hours, confusing care delivery, and abysmal coordination of care among different providers. With the opportunity to capitalize on a movement for consumer-centered healthcare, retail companies may be able to offer affordable, accessible, convenient, and respectful healthcare services to meet the challenge. However, their success in healthcare will likely depend on execution and commitment to the long haul.In this module, we will explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of these new healthcare entrants and what the future may hold for traditional healthcare providers. We will discuss the expanding decision-making role of consumers in regard to their healthcare choices and assess the growing opportunities for consumers to engage in self-care for their own health needs.

What's included

4 videos5 readings5 quizzes1 peer review


Gary Young
Northeastern University
4 Courses4,211 learners

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