It is not uncommon in the health care industry today for two or more parties to form an alliance for commercial and strategic purposes. “Strategic partnership” and “strategic alliance” are terms that are commonly referred to and are now very popular among health care consultants and advisers.
In today’s health care landscape, consultants often advise independent hospitals to merge with a larger health system. The assumption is that a merger will make it easier to achieve economies of scale, develop a large but narrow network of preferably healthy patients, establish data registries, and integrate expensive technology.
These deeper partnerships provide more insights into their current and rapidly changing needs so that they can achieve large-scale and sustainable transformation. This also allows industry partners to develop more effective and sustainable solutions to support their needs.
Strategic Partnerships typically include the following components:
Strategic Planning and Guidance: Establish ambitious, measurable system-level aims, design a strategy to achieve those aims, coach executive teams to support a process to implement and scale up the strategy, and help to continually reflect on progress and refine the strategy.
Building Improvement Capability: Train leaders and staff at all levels in quality improvement methods; create a “culture of quality.”
Results-oriented Initiatives: Design and lead large-scale initiatives that improve outcomes by testing, implementing, and scaling up best practices and coaching for results.
Innovation: Participate in generating new solutions to unsolved problems and have the opportunity to serve as sites for testing new ideas.
Learning and Networking Opportunities: Participate in regular virtual opportunities and twice-yearly events with other Strategic Partners and leading organizations within and outside health care.
However, each partnership is unique as it must meet the needs of the hospital network or healthcare system, their patients, and their community as well as align with the mission of the supplier. There must be a shared interest and dedication to the vision to ensure a strong alignment over a longer period of time as well as a willingness to change if circumstances dictate a change is needed.