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Integrated health care: passing fad or lasting legacy?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Healthcare financial management : journal of the Healthcare Financial Management Association
Publication Date
Volume
52
Issue
1
Identifiers
PMID: 10175106
Source
Medline

Abstract

The breakup of several integrated delivery systems (IDSs), and a continuing focus on the failures of many of these organizations to live up to expectations, suggests that integration may be a passing trend. Nonetheless, some systems, particularly those driven by multispecialty clinics, are achieving considerable marketplace success. Integrated systems that base their strategies on delivering value-added services to patients and healthcare purchasers still appear viable. Strategies typically used by IDSs include developing primary care networks, gainsharing with or owning health plans, reducing clinical variation, demonstrating high quality, cutting costs, and developing a seamless system of care. Primary care strategies are especially controversial given the fact that most hospital-affiliated primary care practices are losing money. However, research indicates that primary network development is one of the strategies that adds the most value for consumers and, thus, may be assumed to be of particular benefit to IDSs. Strategies aimed at reducing clinical variation can be expected to reap huge long-term benefits.

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