Our health system has expanded rapidly over the last five years. We currently have a variety of partnership models that differ in levels of integration. The continuum of integration ranges from strategic affiliations, management models, joint ventures, clinically and financially integrated partners and ownership models. With the goal of continuing to increase quality and lower costs for our patients, we have an interest in furthering alignment and integration with our partners with an immediate focus on our financially and clinically integrated partnerships. These partners have or will convert to a common electronic medical record and are well positioned for further efficiencies and synergies in these areas. On a limited basis, we are already assuming revenue cycle and supply chain functions for our financially integrated partners. We are currently considering expanding this concept through the development of a shared services model in which we will assume the financial, human resource, supply chain, revenue cycle and information services functions of our financially integrated partners. Consolidation in these areas is key to better cultural alignment, cost reductions and improved patient safety.
While the rapid growth of our system has dramatically improved access to services and the quality of care in the region, it has been challenging for our core operations to keep pace with the rate of growth. We have also recently experienced major systems conversions within our own accounting, finance and human resource functions. As we consider consolidating information services, financial and human resource systems with our financially integrated partners, we are considering the following questions.
1) How to provide shared services to our partners without jeopardizing our core operations?
2) How to operationalize the model internally including the structure of the shared services governance model?
3) How to anticipate partners’ unique system’s capabilities as we develop the model?
4) How to develop a shared services model that advances cultural alignment with our partners vs. compromising the existing alignment?
5) How to price the services considering that we share in the bottom line with these partners but need to cover our internal costs and provide some margin? We also need to anticipate the future capital and resource needs in these areas. Further, we may need a different pricing structure if we offer these services to non-financially integrated partners.
I am interested in any feedback from other participants that have engaged in similar efforts. Of particular interest is how to appropriately plan for the shared services model on the front end to avoid critical setbacks going forward.