Healthcare Utility Initiative

Nurturing a new way to do business in healthcare for the benefit of all

Our mission

To improve access to affordable healthcare for everyone by developing, refining and supporting new, disruptive not-for-profit business models.

The challenge

Healthcare has an incredibly effective innovation engine. Its technological advances have been instrumental at increasing life expectancy by 2 to 3 months every year over the past century. However, in contrast to other industries, these technological advances have not yielded massive cost reductions that enable access for all. Quite the contrary, healthcare is becoming ever more expensive and exclusive. Technical innovation is rapid but service innovation remains slow and institutional barriers and market failures abound.

While the sharp end of the innovation plough produces fertile soil we are, as a society, not able to reap the full benefits for all because we lack effective businesses that operate in the furrow of the plough. These businesses take known innovations and integrate them into novel service models to ensure that these innovations reach society as a whole at affordable cost.

Healthcare as a Utility: Carter Dredge and Stefan Scholtes discuss the Healthcare Utility Concept with Conrad Chua.

This is joint global strategic initiative between Cambridge Judge Business School and SSM Health.

SSM Health.

The vision – healthcare utilities

Utilities, like water and electricity companies, do not offer a tailored service to a chosen market segment but instead deliver a high-quality product or service to all customers at equal and low cost. Our vision is to develop rapidly scalable not-for-profit business models for service innovation in healthcare, based on the concept of a healthcare utility. These business models radically change the way we deliver healthcare and boost competition in a societally beneficial way, without limiting access or increasing costs.

A healthcare utility is a self-sustaining non-stock corporation with a social mission, formed by healthcare institutions to commoditise essential products and services and provide them at the lowest sustainable cost, using a focused, transparent and scalable business model.

The business model addresses 4 key components:

  1. structure and ownership
  2. financing and time horizon
  3. goals and contract terms
  4. market positioning and scale.


Doctoral Thesis University of Cambridge | June 2024

Structural Transformation in Health Care: Disruptive Collaboration Through Health Care Utilities

By Carter Dredge


NEJM Catalyst | 12 October 2022

How Venture Philanthropy Can Disrupt Health Care: Lessons from Civica Rx

A small cadre of business-minded foundations collaborated with the private sector to upend rising drug costs and potentially transform the health care industry.

NEJM Catalyst | 29 March 2022

Disruptive Collaboration: A Thesis for Pro-Competitive Collaboration in Health Care

Leaders at Civica Rx have developed a potentially disruptive health care business model that enables private-sector efficiency and public-sector societal equity at scale.

NEJM Catalyst | 8 July 2021

The Health Care Utility Model: A Novel Approach to Doing Business

Leaders at Civica Rx have developed a potentially disruptive health care business model that enables private-sector efficiency and public-sector societal equity at scale.

Cambridge Judge Business School Case study

Civica RX: Collaborating to disrupt healthcare

This case study was written by Dr Lisa Simone Duke, Researcher, Carter Dredge, Senior Vice President & Lead Futurist, SSM Health, and Professor Stefan Scholtes, Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management, University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States | Fall 2022

What Is the Health Care Utility Model, and How Can It Transform Health Care?

A Q&A With SSM Health’s Lead Futurist Carter Dredge


NBC News | 27 June 2022

Discussing societal needs and economic growth at Aspen Ideas Festival

Three disruptive business leaders, Ashley Bell, Carter Dredge and Rodney Williams, all part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, address societal needs at the Aspen Ideas Festival in a conversation moderated by NBC News President Rebecca Blumenstein. NBCUniversal News Group is the media partner of Aspen Ideas Festival.

Case studies

  • CivicaRx is a disruptor in the US generic medicines market. Its focused mission is to make generic medicines accessible and affordable to everyone.
  • CivicaScript is a subsidiary of CivicaRx, focused on bringing lower-cost generic medicines to millions of people across US.
  • Graphite Health is a not-for-profit company with a mission to establish a trusted digital ecosystem composed of an interoperable data platform and application marketplace that will drive the digital advancement of healthcare for patients An Introduction to Graphite Health

Initiative leads

Carter Dredge

Lead Futurist, SSM Health, St Louis, USA

Stefan Scholtes

Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management

PhD (Karlsruhe University)

Contact us

For more information, contact Patrick Kampert.