Stefan Scholtes

Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management

Director of the Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise (CCHLE)

Diploma, PhD, Habilitation (Karlsruhe University)

My work addresses organisational and management challenges that impede innovation in healthcare delivery. I focus on scalable transformations and novel business models that enhance access and reduce costs, specifically targeting chronic disease management and prevention, and addressing health disparities.

Research interests

The healthcare sector, while pivotal in significantly enhancing life expectancy over the past century, currently faces a paradigm shift. Rooted in a 20th-century delivery model centred around family doctors and general hospitals, this system now confronts the challenges of the 21st century – aging populations, escalating chronic diseases, and growing health disparities. This raises a critical question: can this traditional delivery system be adapted to effectively address these modern healthcare challenges, or is it a case of preparing for yesterday’s battles in today’s war?

Professor Stefan Scholtes’ extensive experience with hospitals and primary care practices not only underscores the need for these institutions to evolve, but also reveals a critical gap in the industry: there are jobs-to-be-done that neither hospitals nor traditional primary care practices can do well. This gap urgently needs to be filled by new delivery vehicles, which are pivotal in providing innovative solutions and tech-enabled strategies to effectively tackle the growing chronic disease crisis and deliver population health outcomes at scale.

Stefan’s research is divided into 3 main streams:

  • Primary Care at Scale: Since 2018, Stefan has served as Chair of the Board at Granta Medical Practices in Cambridgeshire, which has evolved into one of England’s largest primary care practices. This role provides valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges of delivering primary care on a large scale while maintaining the essential GP-patient relationship.
  • Healthcare Utilities: Developed in partnership with Carter Dredge, a Cambridge Judge Business Doctorate student and senior executive in a US health system, this initiative studies and supports a structural innovation in healthcare delivery. The aim is to establish not-for-profit businesses, termed healthcare utilities, that specifically target market inefficiencies in healthcare supply chains. These utilities ensure that vital technology remains both affordable and readily available. A prime example of this model’s success is Civica Rx, a non-profit generic drug manufacturer in the US that provides over 1,500 US hospitals with essential drugs at a stable low price, focusing on medications that are frequently impacted by shortages. Stefan and Carter are working closely with Civica Rx to study the extent to which the healthcare utility business model can be applied to resolving other critical supply challenges faced by health systems and payers.
  • Centre for Global Healthcare Convergence: Co-founded with Cambridge Judge Fellow Anoop Maini, this initiative aims to address fragmentation in healthcare. Working alongside industry and academic partners, the Centre is pioneering the formation of businesses named Precision Population Health Solutions. Created as clinical franchises, these ventures integrate various healthcare components to deliver effective, turn-key solutions for specific patient groups, such as asthmatics, and scale best-in-class population health outcomes.

Professor Scholtes’ research across these 3 areas is directed towards shaping a new healthcare model. This model introduces a third delivery pillar, complementing the existing GP-Hospital framework, to enhance the overall healthcare system. Currently, primary and secondary care providers are local generalists, catering to local communities and treating a large range of conditions. While this approach is vital for overall healthcare, it is not as effective for tackling specific problems that require scale. The idea is to complement the existing delivery system with an ecosystem of specialised ventures, both non-profit and for-profit. These organisations will focus on addressing specific problems on a large scale. They operate in the ‘mezzanine’ space between primary and secondary care and are designed to plug seamlessly into existing local health systems. Professor Scholtes believes this focused strategy has the potential to catalyse the step-change improvements that we desperately need, help health systems to consistently achieve best-in-class population health outcomes, and reduce health disparities. This approach is key to adapting our healthcare systems to better meet the demands of the 21st century.

Professional experience

Professor Scholtes has over 2 decades of experience teaching MBA students and executives. His executive teaching focuses on the development and delivery of bespoke leadership programmes to support system change and transformation in healthcare.

Stefan’s research and teaching are embedded in close collaborations with executives in health systems, hospitals and primary care practices in the UK and the USA. He is Chair of the Board of Granta Medical Practices in Cambridgeshire and holds honorary appointments at Cambridge University Hospitals and the Royal Papworth Hospital. In 2011 he founded the Cambridge Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise. Stefan is founding Department Editor for Healthcare Management at Management Science and serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor at HEC Paris.

Previous appointments

Stefan joined Cambridge Judge Business School in 1996 from the University of Karlsruhe. Prior to his appointment as Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management in 2010, he was Professor of Management Science and Head of the Management Science subject area at Cambridge Judge.


Selected publications

Journal articles

Books, monographs, reports and case studies

  • Scholtes, S. (2015) “Reorganising care at Cambridge University Hospitals.” Cambridge Judge Business School Case Study.
  • Scholtes, S. (2012) Introduction to piecewise differentiable equations. New York, NY: Springer.
  • de Neufville, R. and Scholtes, S. (2011) Flexibility in engineering design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Powell, M.J.D. and Scholtes, S. (eds.) (2000) System modelling and optimization: methods, theory and applications. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic.

News and insights

Research co-authored by Professor Stefan Scholtes of Cambridge Judge Business School highlights benefits of consistent doctor visits – both for patients and for GP workload in the NHS.

Smiling mature woman looking at pill bottle while using laptop in kitchen.

Increased drug supply security and reduced costs has been achieved by Civica Rx, a health care utility taking a fresh approach, says study in NEJM Catalyst authored by 2 Cambridge Judge Business School academics.

FT Academic Research with Real-World Impact Award.

Studies on COVID-19 modelling by Paul Kattuman and marginalisation by Shahzad Ansari are named runners-up in the annual Responsible Business Education Awards of the Financial Times.

Media coverage

India Education Diary | 10 October 2022

University of Cambridge – Vice Chancellor’s awards for research impact and engagement 2022

Stefan Scholtes, Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management at Cambridge Judge Business School and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise, has won the Collaboration Award from the University of Cambridge’s Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement, for playing a pivotal part in enabling evidence-informed healthcare decision making during the COVID-19 crisis through his work in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS in the East of England.

United Press International | 22 June 2021

Study: Second opinion can reduce risk for long-term opioid use

A study looking at opioid use co-authored by Stefan Scholtes, Dennis Gillings Professor of Health Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, featured in United Press International. The study found that “a “second opinion” by another prescribing doctor within 30 days of an initial opioid prescription reduced long-term opioid use after 12 months by 31%.

Management Science Review Blog | 25 March 2021

A route to decomplexifying hospitals

Hospitals are some of the most managerially intractable institutions in the annals of capitalism.” This is the stark conclusion that Clayton Christensen, Grossman and Hwang draw in their seminal book The Innovator’s Prescription, write co-authors Michael Freeman, Nicos Savva, and Professor Stefan Scholtes of Cambridge Judge Business School in a blogpost for the Management Science Review blog. Few doctors and hospital managers would disagree, if anything, that today the trend is towards larger and more complex hospitals, which does little to improve managerial (in)tractability. This leaves us with a challenge: How does one make hospitals manageable again while still maintaining or even improving the value of hospital services?

University of Cambridge, 6 November 2019
Admitting patterns of junior doctors may be behind ‘weekend effect’ in hospitals, study suggests

Cambridge Independent, 17 January 2018
Stabilising the patient and curing the ills of the NHS