4 mistakes hospitals make in the search for partnerships

In an effort to be more efficient, deliver value-based care and streamline the healthcare continuum, hospitals enter into partnerships out of want rather than financial necessity to stay ahead of competitors in the ever-evolving healthcare industry, according to a piece in Hospitals & Health Networks.

Author Jeffrey R. Hoffman, a senior partner in Kurt Salmon's healthcare group in San Francisco, examines a number of mistakes hospitals and healthcare organizations make as they evaluate their partnership strategies, including:

  1. They focus on the wrong goals. In today's new healthcare world, hospitals shouldn't focus on size, scale or purchasing power, but rather broader goals of population health and value-based care. To do this, hospitals must examine what expertise their organizations are missing, and what they can offer other providers in exchange for that expertise.

  2. They stop after the first try. Hunting for the ideal partner whose goals align with your organization won't be a quick or easy process. Consider systems of all sizes and even out-of-state partners. Conversely, hospitals don't need to accept the first partnership offer that comes along--wait for goals, skills and initiatives that align.

  3. They fail to get medical staff buy-in and participation. Partnerships that run into complications can crumble under the weight of resentment from staff and physicians who don't support or participate in the alignment process. However, medical staff who support and are part of the process are more likely to help work through tough times. Consider asking all stakeholders for input throughout the process.

  4. They start too late. Hospitals must start looking for partnerships while they are financially strong and can find a balanced partnership with an equally strong organization. "As the care delivery model shifts, those providers that choose to 'fail fast' and continually adapt their efforts to build clinically integrated networks will create a place for themselves at the table. Those who wait for the music to stop may be left without a seat," Hoffman writes.

At a PoliticoPro healthcare breakfast briefing last month, Deborah Zastocki, president of Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, New Jersey and vice president of Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, said her once independent hospital started a proactive conversation about consolidation years ago, before the financial viability of the stable hospital could be in question. Since then, she has seen the benefits of alignment, partnerships and acquisition first-hand, FierceHealthcare previously reported.  

To learn more:
- here's the article