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Our story

Built on a foundation of 40 years of research

Advisory Board has changed a lot over its 40-year history, but what has not changed is our commitment to addressing tough questions with unbiased, disciplined research. Our founder, David Bradley, instilled a passion for finding right answers. While this passion has been applied to multiple industries over the years, Advisory Board began its enduring commitment to health care in 1986. Today, health care is our singular focus, research remains at the core of all that we do, and we are proudly tackling a mission that we share with our member organizations: to make health care better.

A few milestones:


David Bradley founded a research company with five employees, who worked out of his mother’s condominium in the Watergate building in Washington D.C. His initial mission was to answer "any question for any company for any industry."


The newly named The Advisory Board Company focused on financial services research.


David turned his attention to health care and created a membership program called the “Health Care Advisory Board.”

People standing by computers


By 1990, the company had 150 employees and 500 members. We published approximately 15 major reports and 200 research briefs each year.


Advisory Board created its first clinical research program, the Cardiology Roundtable, which provided best practices for cardiac programs. Advisory Board continues to research cardiovascular best practices today.


The firm spun off its corporate membership group to form an independent company called Corporate Executive Board (now CEB, a subsidiary of Gartner). Advisory Board’s membership base grew to 1,500+ health care organizations. In addition, it launched its first consulting business offerings.


The Advisory Board Company went public!

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With a growing membership network of 2,100+ health care organizations and 500 employees, the firm also began offering leadership development training to address health care’s leadership gap.


Washingtonian magazine named Advisory Board one of its "Great Places to Work." The company began offering technology-based memberships, which focused on implementation of best practices supported by the visibility and accountability of our business intelligence and analytics tools.


The firm is named to Forbes's "Top 200 High-Growth Companies" list and is honored again as one of Washingtonian magazine’s "Great Places to Work."

People standing in office


The Advisory Board applied its research process to the higher education sector and developed memberships to serve student and academic affairs executives at U.S. research universities.


The firm expanded its technology footprint by acquiring, a business intelligence and analytics software provider focused on physician, quality, and cost performance.


Advisory Board grew to 2,800 employees working in 11 global offices, serving over 200,000 leaders in health care and higher education. We became the first for-profit company of its size to achieve 100% participation in community service (the U.S. corporate average in 2013 was 30%). 


Advisory Board sold its education business, Education Advisory Board (EAB) to affiliates of Vista Equity Partners. Optum acquired the healthcare business of Advisory Board, folding Advisory Board’s technology memberships and consulting services into its other product portfolios. Advisory Board’s research division remained an independently operated subsidiary, ensuring a continued commitment to objective research and member confidentiality.


Today, Advisory Board has over 200 experts who serve over 4,500 organizations in the health care ecosystem. Our experts continue to harness a time-tested research process and the collective wisdom of our vast member network to develop provocative insights, actionable strategies, and practical tools to help health care leaders work smarter and faster.

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