The integration of hospitals: the transition from a system to a system of systems
Kugler, Sean Michael
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Hospitals are the foundation of our health care system and where the emphasis should be placed on providing quality health care while resolving the issues of rising cost and declining access. The architecture of operating as independent systems and competing for the patronage of the local population results in duplication in the acquisition of goods and services. When the probability of any individual requesting service at a hospital is in large part a factor of distance rather than marketing; emphasis should be placed in developing a mutually supporting network or system of systems to support the overall health of a community. The problems such as these plaguing hospitals are examined from a systems engineering perspective to determine their causal mechanisms. Through the application of integration theory, a system of systems model for hospitals is created and shown to reduce costs and risk by increasing sustainability through optimization of the different business models strengths. Physicians and hospitals have already begun integrating, albeit at a much smaller scale, via Accountability Care Organizations and joint ventures with noticeable reductions in cost and increased efficiencies. Hospitals need to examine and implement these models and form a network of hospitals for the purpose of shared resources and mutual beneficial agreements to reduce costs further and implement economies of scale.
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