answer the qeustion
three-pages (max, double spaced)hbr.org | July–August 2007 | Harvard Business Review 29
HBR CASE STUDY
RESHLY SHOWERED AND COOLING DOWN after their squash
game, Max Berndt drank iced tea with his board chairman,
Paul Lefl er. Max, a thoracic surgeon by training, was the
CEO of Peachtree Healthcare. He’d occupied the post for
nearly 12 years. In that time the company had grown – mainly
by mergers – from a single teaching hospital into a regional net-
work of 11 large and midsize institutions, supported by ancillary
clinics, physician practices, trauma centers, rehabilitation facili-
ties, and nursing homes.
Together, these entities had nearly 4,000 employed and
affiliated physicians, who annually treated a million patients
from throughout Georgia and beyond. The patients ranged in
age from newborn to nonagenarian; represented all races, eth-
nicities, lifestyles, and economic conditions; and manifested ev-
ery imaginable injury and disease. Many of them, over the course
of a year, would be seen at more than one Peachtree Healthcare
facility. Max’s marching orders were to ensure quality, consis-
tency, and continuity of care across the entire network – and to
Too Far Ahead of the IT Curve?
Peachtree Healthcare’s patchwork IT infrastructure is in critical condition. Should the CEO
approve a shift to risky new technology or go with the time-tested monolithic system?
by John P. Glaser
HBR’s cases, which are fi ctional, present common managerial
dilemmas and offer concrete solutions from experts.
1284 Glaser.indd 291284 Glaser.indd 29 6/7/07 9:05:23 AM6/7/07 9:05:23 AM
30 Harvard Business Review | July–August 2007 | hbr.org
MANAGING FOR THE LONG TERM | HBR CASE STUDY | Too Far Ahead of the IT Curve?
deliver all that with the highest levels
of efficacy, economy, and respect for pa-
tients and staff.
Max, still sweating lightly, finished
his tea and ordered more. He and Paul
commiserated over the steady vanish-
ing of squash courts in the metro At-
lanta area. This particular block of
four courts was located in a health
club not far from Peachtree’s Marietta
headquarters. Apart from the one Max
and Paul had used, the other three
“By next week,” Paul predicted, “at
least one of those courts is gone.”
In Paul Lefl er’s worldview, things al-
ways happened fast. Paul was the CEO
of Wyndham Trust, the region’s leading
retail bank and mortgage lender. Hav-
ing overseen Wyndham’s rapid growth
through mergers and acquisitions, he
was an avid believer in brute-force stan-
dardization. His management team
had honed the art of disciplined con-
version, changing everything from sig-
nage to systems and processes in very
short order, “like ripping off an adhe-
Squash courts weren’t the only
thing vanishing from Max’s universe.
So was a comfortable management
consensus about Peachtree Health-
care’s long-term aims a
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