Vanishing Practices & The Impact On Health IT

Ken Congdon | Healthcare Technology Online | June 5, 2012

During a recent HIMSS Tweet Chat with Aneesh Chopra, industry blogger Hospital EMR and EHR (@HospitalEHR) asked the former US Chief Technology Officer, “We’re seeing a trend of hospitals buying practices. Do you see this trend being cyclical or more permanent?” Chopra responded, “A trend for hospital/practice acquisition? We've seen this movie before. Success requires reform to reward value-based care.” This response leaned toward the trend being cyclical and was a bit too dismissive for my tastes.

True, we have seen this movie before. The 1990s, for instance, saw a wave of efforts to integrate hospitals with physicians. The impetus for this shift was the belief that managed care—in which insurers negotiate with a limited panel of hospitals and physicians—would be the prevailing model of coverage. When demand for managed care ebbed in the late 1990s, many of these partnerships disbanded due to a lack of commitment from physicians and/or a lack of management expertise from hospitals.

However, unlike the managed care movement of the ’90s, the current trend of hospital/physician acquisition is much more profound and is being influenced by multiple drivers instead of just one. We need take notice of this trend this time around because it has the potential to not only impact health IT, but forever change the landscape of healthcare delivery in the United States...