As an industry, health care is at its breaking point. Hospitals and health systems around the world are struggling to curb costs, prevent quality lapses, and shorten wait times. In health care today, the name of the game is “doing more with less.” Experiments in care delivery, including accountable care organisations and primary care medical homes, all sound like partnerships that should be a major priority.
But health care has traditionally treated partnerships as a “nice to have,” not a “need to have.” However, as health care organisations struggle to cope with the unprecedented challenges of today’s health care landscape, hospitals and health systems are increasingly recognising the need to turn to partnerships for survival.
Why, then, haven’t we prioritised our partnerships? In reality, there are two main obstacles that hinder successful partnerships in health care:
- First, we let accountability force us to extremes. To succeed, we must consider partnership arrangements beyond those typically found at the ends of the spectrum of options.
- Second, we don’t have a partnership strategy in the first place. We must create an intentional and proactive partnership strategy that prioritises oversight and accountability.
After addressing these main obstacles, organisations can apply four key lessons to strengthen and refine their partnership strategy.
Read on for these four lessons, as well as international examples of organisations that have taken a comprehensive and proactive approach to their partnership strategy.