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Nikhil R. Sahni


Helps healthcare clients with productivity challenges across the value chain and works to reshape the care-delivery ecosystem

Nikhil is a partner in our Boston office, serving organizations across the healthcare spectrum—including providers, payers, distributers, and manufacturers—on corporate strategy, business-unit strategy, inorganic growth, and operational efficiency. He is also a leader in McKinsey’s Center for US Health System Reform.

Examples of his recent client work include the following:

  • identifying, acquiring, and integrating vertical targets for a large healthcare company
  • defining the strategic vision and modeling the disrupted economic flows for a new business entering a specific disease area
  • designing and implementing new strategic pricing models in light of shifting market dynamics for a large healthcare company
  • developing and executing a new go-to-market strategy with a company leading up to an IPO

Nikhil has tackled productivity challenges across the healthcare value chain for over a decade. As leader of the US healthcare-productivity initiative in the Center for US Health System Reform, he works to reshape the healthcare delivery ecosystem to reduce productivity inefficiencies, improve patient outcomes, and manage overall spending. Nikhil was the lead author on The Productivity Imperative in US Healthcare Delivery, Administrative simplification: How to save a quarter-trillion dollars in US healthcare, and other accompanying pieces in the productivity series. He is also a fellow with Professor David Cutler at the Harvard University Department of Economics.

Nikhil brings a wide range of experiences from the public and private sectors. In his previous role as senior director of strategy, planning, and operations at a healthcare IT company, he helped to raise $25 million in funding and tripled the size of the company. As the policy director of cost trends and special projects for an independent state agency, he used the state’s all-payer claims database to identify opportunities to realize the state-wide spending benchmark.

Nikhil’s academic work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Medical Journal, Harvard Business Review, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and has been cited in the Economist, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Washington Post, and other media outlets.

He serves on the board of Health Care Without Harm, a global not-for-profit working at the intersection of health and sustainability, and the Atrius Health Academic Institute Advisory Board.

Published work

US government productivity: A more than $2,000 per resident opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, September 2023

Meeting changing consumer needs: The US retail pharmacy of the future,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

How to save a quarter-trillion dollars in healthcare spending every year,” Washington Post, November 11, 2021

Administrative simplification: How to save a quarter-trillion dollars in US healthcare,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

Administrative Simplification and the Potential for Saving a Quarter-Trillion Dollars in Health Care,” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, October 2021

The math of ACOs,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Adapting healthcare to COVID-19: An interview with the CEO of Boston Medical Center,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

The productivity imperative for healthcare delivery in the United States,” McKinsey & Company, February 2019

The IT transformation health care needs,” Harvard Business Review, November–December 2017

Surgeon specialization and operative mortality in United States: retrospective analysis,” BMJ, 2016

How the U.S. can reduce waste in health care spending by $1 trillion,” Harvard Business Review, October 2015

The future of medicine—Where investors are putting their money,” Forbes, May 2015

Unleashing breakthrough innovation in government,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2013

If slow rate of health care spending growth persists, projections may be off by $770 billion,” Health Affairs, May 2013

Rethinking health care labor,” N Engl J Med, 2011

Hospitals' race to employ physicians—The logic behind a money-losing proposition,” N Engl J Med, 2011

Physicians versus hospitals as leaders of accountable care organizations,” N Engl J Med, 2010

Past experience

Harvard University

Senior director

Health Policy Commission
Policy director

Harvard Business School

Boston Red Sox
Special assistant to the president


Harvard University
MPA/ID, US healthcare

University of Pennsylvania
BSE, finance
BAS, biomedical engineering
BA, South Asia studies