Strategic Fit in the Healtcare IDS

Strategic Fit in the Healtcare IDS

Evelyn H. Thrasher (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA) and Terry A. Byrd (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-561-2.ch504

Abstract

Interorganizational networks are defined as “clusters of organizations that make decisions jointly and integrate their efforts to produce a product or service” (Alter & Hage, 1993, p.2) and “advanced organizational structures perceived to improve efficiency, flexibility, and innovativeness and described as decoupled units developed because of rapid growth or knowledge and technology” (Schumaker, 2002). The healthcare integrated delivery system (IDS) is a distinct example of an interorganizational network. Defined as networks of healthcare organizations linked for the goals of clinical integration and an effective patient care continuum (Zucherman, Kaluzny, & Ricketts, 1995; Kilbridge, 1998; Young & McCarthy, 1999; Deluca & Enmark, 2002), IDSs may assume various organizational forms, namely strategic alliances, contracted networks, or joint ventures and may be comprised of multiple forms within a single network (Page, 2003). Also of interest is the distinction of the IDS as a lateral network of stakeholders, all directly serving the patient. This study uses the healthcare IDS to test a model of strategic fit and to examine differences in the nature and strength of the strategic fit to performance relationship across two distinct levels of IDS development.
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Introduction

Interorganizational networks are defined as “clusters of organizations that make decisions jointly and integrate their efforts to produce a product or service” (Alter & Hage, 1993, p.2) and “advanced organizational structures perceived to improve efficiency, flexibility, and innovativeness and described as decoupled units developed because of rapid growth or knowledge and technology” (Schumaker, 2002). The healthcare integrated delivery system (IDS) is a distinct example of an interorganizational network. Defined as networks of healthcare organizations linked for the goals of clinical integration and an effective patient care continuum (Deluca & Enmark, 2002; Kilbridge, 1998; Young & McCarthy, 1999; Zucherman, Kaluzny, & Ricketts, 1995), IDSs may assume various organizational forms; namely, strategic alliances, contracted networks, or joint ventures, and may be comprised of multiple forms within a single network (Page, 2003). Also of interest is the distinction of the IDS as a lateral network of stakeholders, all directly serving the patient. This study uses the healthcare IDS to test a model of strategic fit and to examine differences in the nature and strength of the strategic fit to performance relationship across two distinct levels of IDS development.

The conceptual model (Figure 1) is tested using data from HIMSS Analytics and the American Hospital Directory for 130 US IDSs. The IDSs are categorized into two levels of development, High Integration Aligned (HIA) and Low Integration Aligned (LIA), based on the alignment of IT integration/sophistication and organizational maturity. The relationship between strategic fit and IDS financial and quality performance is tested with comparisons made between the two groups.

Figure 1.

Conceptual model of strategic fit for the interorganizational network

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