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From The CriticsReviewer: Eugene C. Rich, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This multiauthored publication by the Medical Group Management Association provides further analysis of a companion book of case studies. This is a follow up to previous MGMA book, Making Integrated Healthcare Work, published in 1996.
Purpose: The purpose is to present a fresh look at the strategy of vertical integration employed by many health systems and multispecialty clinics.
Audience: The audience includes a variety of healthcare administration executives, particularly administrators and physician leaders of integrated healthcare organizations involved in large multispecialty group practices.
Features: This book is organized in three main sections, which are an overview of integrated healthcare systems (including chapters such as "Overview of Case Study Enterprises" and "The Changing Characteristics of Integrated Systems"); strategies for the future (including such chapters as "Culture, Governance, Organizational Structure and Leadership;" "Information Technology;" "Quality Coordination of Care and Seemlessness;" and "Improving Financial Performance"); and major findings (including the chapters "Lessons from the Trenches" and "Strategic Implications"). This work represents a synthesis from the findings of 11 case studies of integrated healthcare systems, anchored in large multispecialty group practices. The example organizations range from the Mayo Clinic and Henry Ford Health System to the Carl Clinic and Moses Cone Health System. Among the highlights are an exploration of definitions of integrated healthcare in the U.S., tables of common characteristics of integrated healthcare systems and different approaches to rating integration across healthcare organizations.
Assessment: This is generally an interesting and informative work. The reliance on the open-ended responses from organization leaders to general questions puts inevitable limits on the analysis and interpretation, however. Despite such limitations, this book represents a helpful addition to the library of administrators, physician leaders, and scholars interested in the current status and future directions for integrated healthcare organizations in the U.S.