Mergers, acquisitions, and joint partnership agreements among hospitals have picked-up over the past few years, and for good reason. Organizations are looking for alternative partnerships or affiliations as a pathway to success under the emerging value-based business model, often referred to as a population health management model.
Population Health Management is an approach towards improving patient care through the centralization of patient data across disparate technology systems. This approach towards patient-data unity leads to a better examination of that data to produce an actionable patient record that clinicians can use to improve quality of care. An additional benefit of Population Health Management, particularly through the implementation and subsequent sharing of an Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR), is often an improvement for patient access and the clinical and financial functions of a hospital or clinic’s system, whether they’re an affiliate or a host.
Alternative partnerships, like the affiliate model, address constraints commonly found in many hospitals and clinics by leveraging tools and technology to provide value through continuous quality improvements. They also reduce the costs often associated with this integration of data sources to a single record that reaches a larger geographic footprint.
Achieving this level of care through an affiliate model requires a strong commitment and a level of preparation to produce the benefits of the shared EHR system. The question we get asked most often is “Where do I start?” and based on our extensive experience, including a detailed understanding of the many challenges involved, we developed a framework that answers the question in five phases.
- Organizational Alignment- whether hosting an EHR, or looking to affiliate with a host, both organizations need to understand their internal structure and define the end-state or purpose for seeking an affiliation:
- Clarify goals and guiding principles
- Align stakeholders
- Build business case
- Outline future State
- Define success criteria
- Assess Your Readiness- What does your current state look like? How ready are you to undertake the roles and responsibilities needed to execute on the deliverables in the organizational alignment? This often means determining:
- IT organizational readiness
- Technical and supporting documentation readiness
- Staffing and governance
- Financial modeling
- Evaluate Partners- Now that you have a grasp on why you want to enter an affiliation, the next step is finding a partner that is going to help you close the gaps and get you across the finish line.
- Define key partner attributes
- Identify potential partners
- Assess partner alignment
- Develop a road map
- Define your offering- The next step is to build the infrastructure to execute the affiliation, including the program and project structure that will lead to deliverables and milestones. Other deliverables include:
- Develop governance structures
- Define high-level sequence and timeline
- Develop a staffing plan
- Define roles and responsibilities
- Finalize repeatable strategies- By this step, your organization has defined the WHY, the WHO, and the WHAT regarding the affiliation. In this last step, you move to the HOW. The final step is to focus on the main elements to reach a successful affiliation:
- Program management
- Change management and communication
- Community engagement
- Technical development
- Design and build
Merger, acquisition, and joint partnership agreements among hospitals has picked-up over the last couple of years, and by following these five steps, your organization can ground itself on the activities to concentrate on in order to successfully extend the continuum of care.