Trend: Hospital corps sell services to competitors

In a business facing the overhead hospitals do, just about anything you can do to lower costs makes sense. So it's little surprise--though still noteworthy--that hospital chains are increasingly selling their services to each other. Examples include Tenet which, through its MEDContact subsidiary, provides call center services to 53 other hospitals. Community Health, which picked up a hospital management and consulting firm named QHR when it bought Triad Hospitals, has let it continue to serve 180 facilities across the US. HCA, for its part, offers IT, bill collection and purchasing services to hospitals it sold or spun off years ago through its National Patient Accounts Services and IT&S information technology subsidiary. In a typically incestuous example, IT&S is helping Triad transition over to Community Health's accounting system. Of course, given that many of these organizations compete for patients and doctors, there's always questions over whether shared data will be used to steal them--but the chains offering these services typically have various agreements in place in which they swear to use the data only for what they're paid to do.

To find out more about this trend:
- read this piece from The Tennessean